mental illness

8:09 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

New Film Shines Light On Florida’s Prison Houdini

Documentary director Gabriel London has spent 13 years working on Mark DeFriest’s story.
Credit DOC NYC/flickr

In the early 1980s, a series of escapes earned Mark DeFriest the nickname Prison Houdini.

In 1979, DeFriest was a 19-year-old mechanic living in a rural area outside of Tallahassee. Then he was arrested for stealing his own tools -- the tools were inherited from his father, but DeFriest took them before his father’s will had gone through probate. His stepmother called the police, and DeFriest fled. That began his decades-long odyssey behind bars.

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