Criminal justice sources tell YNN that former fugitive and convicted murderer Ralph "Bucky" Phillips engaged in activity on Monday that could have resulted in an attempted escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility, where he’s been held since December of 2006.
An investigation and hearing will determine if it was an escape attempt or not, but the New York State Department of Corrections says Phillips has already violated prison rules 29 times in five years. At the very least, a department spokesperson says, this latest incident is proof Phillips hasn't changed.
"He's pretty much well demonstrated how not to behave," said Peter Cutler, a State Corrections spokesman.
Cutler says Phillips is “disruptive,” pointing to the "unhygienic acts," "weapon" charges, making "threats" and "property damage” on his inmate history.
"There's been a repeated pattern of violations and infractions on his inmate history, which is a pretty good indicator that he's not adjusted well since he's been in our custody,” said Cutler.
Phillips is serving a life sentence for shooting and killing Trooper Joseph Longobardo and wounding Troopers Donald Baker and Sean Brown in the summer of 2006. He led police on the largest and most expensive manhunt in New York State history after breaking out of the Alden Correctional Facility.
"He's considered a strong escape risk,” said Cutler.
Since his arrival at the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility, Phillips has been held in administrative segregation.
"There are other inmates in the unit with him, but he's in his cell, as are the other inmates in the special housing unit, for 23 hours a day,” said Cutler.
Phillips is being closely monitored and Monday, staff discovered what's being called "irregularities" in his cell. If it was an escape attempt, the man who spent five months chasing Phillips wouldn't be surprised.
"He’s got nothing else to do, and he has a history of escape attempts. He’s a very dangerous individual. Very dangerous. The community would be at risk,” said Sheriff Joe Gerace of Chautauqua County.
Either way, Phillips is still behind bars, and Cutler says he'll stay there.
"He is very well looked after and taken care of in our facility and he won't be leaving for a very long time – if ever," said Cutler.
Once the investigation into Monday's incident is completed, Phillips will have a chance to answer any charges against him during an internal hearing. Cutler says, given Phillips history, it's likely he'll face further sanctions.
Phillips' Discipline History