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Norman Johnston

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NEWS
October 13, 2012
Norman Johnston, 91, chairman of the sociology department at Arcadia University and an authority on the history of prison architecture, died of complications of strokes Saturday, Oct. 6, at Artman Lutheran Home in Ambler. He was the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles on criminal justice and prison architecture. He was associated with the Pennsylvania Prison Society and the Eastern State Penitentiary historic site for many years. Mr. Johnston was born an only child in Marion, Mich., in 1921.
NEWS
August 26, 1999 | By Michael Rothfeld, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
He is a fugitive, eluding the authorities in his native Chester County. He has stayed one step in front of police, and is thought to rely on a network of friends, relatives and associates to help him survive. No, convicted murderer Norman Johnston has not escaped again. This is 20-year-old Kenneth M. Tucker, known in his native Coatesville as "Fudd" - as in Elmer - his boyhood nickname. Seven months after slipping out of leg shackles after a court appearance, Tucker is still on the lam. In all, law enforcement agencies from Caln Township Police to the FBI have obtained 12 arrest warrants for Tucker in connection with incidents dating back to November and continuing after his January escape.
NEWS
August 3, 1999 | by Gloria Campisi, Daily News Staff Writer
One of the murderous Chester County Johnston brothers, who left a trail of crime, blood and terror across three states in the 1970s, escaped from prison yesterday in Central Pennsylvania. Norman Johnston, 48, broke the window of his cell in the maximum-security State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon, sneaked across a grassy yard and wriggled through a fence to make his getaway. He apparently stole a truck from a house across from the prison and drove off. It took prison authorities a while to realize that Johnston was gone.
NEWS
August 12, 1999 | By Bill Ordine, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Norman Johnston's friends might be throwing officers off the trail of the escaped murderer with phony sightings, dusting off tactics used to foil law enforcement during the heyday of the notorious Johnston gang, police said yesterday. Since Johnston's escape more than a week ago from a maximum-security prison, police in three states have been swamped with hundreds of calls from people saying they had just seen the Chester County killer. Police say they have no concrete evidence that those who know Johnston are trying to dupe officers.
NEWS
September 20, 2000 | By Kelly Wolfe and Bill Ordine, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Saying he has nothing to lose, the Huntingdon County prosecutor has filed a memorandum in court requesting that a judge tack on $440,000 in restitution when sentencing Norman Johnston for his prison escape last year. Huntingdon County District Attorney Robert B. Stewart 3d filed the memorandum after tallying expenses associated with Johnston's August 1999 escape and capture at $441,592.05. He said he wanted Johnston liable, in case the convicted killer happens into some cash. "The point is to get this judgment against Norman Johnston for this restitution," Stewart said.
NEWS
August 24, 1999 | By Bill Ordine, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
There is no question that Rick Mercurio and Ellen Baldo of Pennsbury Township, Chester County, placed the phone call early Friday that led to the capture of escaped murderer Norman Johnston. What remained unclear yesterday was whether the couple would collect any of the $40,000 in reward money that was offered for information leading to Johnston's arrest. The couple, scheduled to wed in a couple of weeks, might get an answer as early as Thursday, when officials of Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers, which put up some of the reward money, meet to consider whether any of the cash will be awarded.
NEWS
August 9, 1999 | By Marc Schogol and Susan Weidener, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Police were scouring an area near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border yesterday after two women saw a man resembling a photograph of escaped murderer Norman Johnston that they had just seen in a local newspaper. The women, who were at a fruit stand, called 911 shortly after 12:30 p.m., but the man, who had been sitting on a guardrail at the intersection of Routes 273 and 213, apparently saw them making the call. By the time police arrived 10 minutes later, Johnston was gone. Police from Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware immediately began an intensive search, using helicopters and tracking dogs.
NEWS
September 30, 2003 | By Kathleen Brady Shea INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Norman Johnston, Chester County's most infamous escapee and a four-time convicted murderer, will appear in court today under heavy guard - and in this case, heavy guard may be an understatement. The last time Johnston, a member of the notoriously lawless Johnston gang, spent time in the county, he was on the lam, having escaped from maximum security at Huntingdon State Prison in August 1999. Johnston's 18-day jailbreak, which traumatized communities from Chadds Ford to Nottingham, cost authorities an estimated $440,000 in overtime costs and reward money.
NEWS
August 13, 1999 | By Marc Schogol, Bill Ordine and Sudarsan Raghavan, INQUIRER STAFFWRITERS
Police searched through the night for Norman Johnston in northeasternMaryland last night after officers spotted a man who looked like the escapedmurderer outside his niece's home. Police helicopters whirled overhead in the darkness as officers and theirspecially trained dogs, which had picked up Johnston's scent, searched in andaround Cherry Hill, Md. Helicopters and patrol cars kept searching earlytoday, and officers were to be sent back into the area at dawn. When spotted shortly before 2:20 p.m. yesterday, the man believed to beJohnston was at the front door of a house occupied by Jim Arches and hisgirlfriend, Mary Montgomery, who said she is Johnston's niece.
NEWS
August 10, 1999 | By Marc Schogol, Rena Singer and Glen Justice, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
As police investigated new reported sightings of escaped Chester County murderer Norman Johnston, including one that drew a Maryland state trooper into a high-speed chase last night, Pennsylvania corrections officials disclosed yesterday that Johnston's escape came on his second attempt. In October 1991, Huntingdon Prison officials discovered that Johnston had tried to get a security key, said Susan McNaughton, a state Department of Corrections spokeswoman. Johnston remained at large yesterday, and except for two unconfirmed sightings in Oxford, Chester County, and the one last night in Maryland, there were no new developments in the search for the former member of the notorious Johnston gang.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
October 13, 2012
Norman Johnston, 91, chairman of the sociology department at Arcadia University and an authority on the history of prison architecture, died of complications of strokes Saturday, Oct. 6, at Artman Lutheran Home in Ambler. He was the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles on criminal justice and prison architecture. He was associated with the Pennsylvania Prison Society and the Eastern State Penitentiary historic site for many years. Mr. Johnston was born an only child in Marion, Mich., in 1921.
NEWS
April 14, 2011 | By Anthony R. Wood, Inquirer Staff Writer
In an area renowned for a world-famous garden and its pastoral tranquillity, their shocking, murderous crime spree was evocative of the violent legends of Prohibition-era Chicago and the Wild West. The notorious Johnston brothers - the convicted impresarios of a reign of terror in southern Chester County in the 1970s that involved at least six murders - have lost their latest bid for a new trial. David and Norman Johnston, convicted of four counts of murder in 1980, had argued that information in a book published in 2009 by journalist Bruce E. Mowday contained "new exculpatory evidence.
NEWS
October 1, 2003 | By Kathleen Brady Shea INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Some might call it overkill for a killer. But authorities could hardly be blamed for taking extra precautions to transport four-time convicted murderer Norman Johnston into the Chester County courthouse yesterday. After all, the last time Johnston visited these parts, in August 1999, he was an escapee from maximum security at Huntingdon State Prison for 18 days. A convoy of seven vehicles and more than a dozen police officers, a handful in camouflage fatigues, shadowed Johnston from the state prison in Camp Hill to West Chester.
NEWS
September 30, 2003 | By Kathleen Brady Shea INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Norman Johnston, Chester County's most infamous escapee and a four-time convicted murderer, will appear in court today under heavy guard - and in this case, heavy guard may be an understatement. The last time Johnston, a member of the notoriously lawless Johnston gang, spent time in the county, he was on the lam, having escaped from maximum security at Huntingdon State Prison in August 1999. Johnston's 18-day jailbreak, which traumatized communities from Chadds Ford to Nottingham, cost authorities an estimated $440,000 in overtime costs and reward money.
BUSINESS
August 23, 2001 | By Reid Kanaley INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Nothing vexes and embarrasses prison guards like a jailbreak. It is no wonder, then, that corrections officials around the country are taking note of the technology sold by two companies to prevent escapes. Their answer is not higher walls and shorter bedsheets. Instead, Ensco Inc., of Springfield, Va., and Geovox Security Inc., of Houston, have devised ways of finding would-be escapees at the prison gate: by listening for their heartbeats. Adapting the same techniques that geologists use to detect earthquakes and oil fields, Ensco's MicroSearch system and Geovox's Avian system place sensors on a car or truck body to listen for the heartbeats of anyone hiding inside the vehicle.
NEWS
September 20, 2000 | By Kelly Wolfe and Bill Ordine, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Saying he has nothing to lose, the Huntingdon County prosecutor has filed a memorandum in court requesting that a judge tack on $440,000 in restitution when sentencing Norman Johnston for his prison escape last year. Huntingdon County District Attorney Robert B. Stewart 3d filed the memorandum after tallying expenses associated with Johnston's August 1999 escape and capture at $441,592.05. He said he wanted Johnston liable, in case the convicted killer happens into some cash. "The point is to get this judgment against Norman Johnston for this restitution," Stewart said.
NEWS
August 31, 2000 | By Michael Rothfeld, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
Seven months after Kenneth M. Tucker slipped out of leg shackles and escaped from Caln District Court, FBI agents captured him in Ohio, authorities announced yesterday. The 20-year-old from Coatesville was arrested quietly around 2 p.m. Sunday inside a residence in Columbus, 400 miles west of where he stole his freedom on Jan. 13. A tip from a woman who lived at the house was a key to Tucker's apprehension. "He was actually found sleeping on a mattress," said Chester County District Attorney Anthony Sarcione, flanked by local police chiefs at a news conference yesterday afternoon.
NEWS
May 20, 2000 | By Sudarsan Raghavan, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
When Chester County killer Norman Johnston escaped from a maximum security prison in Huntingdon last August, there were many who paid the price. Two state prison staffers were fired. A deputy prison superintendent was replaced. And taxpayers will foot the bill for the costly 18-day manhunt and the prosecution on escape charges. Now another person has come forward to say he was victimized: Bruce Johnston Sr., Norman Johnston's older brother and partner-in-crime. In court papers filed yesterday in U.S. District Court, Bruce Johnston Sr., who is serving life sentences at Graterford Prison for six murder convictions, alleged that he has been held in "solitary confinement" - without a prison board hearing or any jail privileges - since his brother's escape on Aug. 2. He is seeking an injunction to force prison officials to place him with other inmates, and unspecified monetary damages because he contends his civil rights have been violated.
NEWS
April 21, 2000 | By Thomas Fitzgerald, INQUIRER HARRISBURG BUREAU
Huntingdon state prison, from which murderer Norman Johnston slithered last summer, should be closed and rebuilt because it is too old to meet modern security standards, a panel of experts said in a report released yesterday. The prison, built in 1889, "will continue to be a public safety risk despite . . . corrective actions," concluded the panel, appointed to review Pennsylvania's prison system after the jailbreak. But Gov. Ridge rebuffed that recommendation for now - even though he had sought advice from the panel.
NEWS
March 15, 2000 | By Bill Ordine, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Huntingdon County district attorney who is prosecuting murderer Norman Johnston for his August prison escape notified Johnston's lawyer yesterday that he would agree to have the trial moved or a jury brought in. Robert Stewart said the publicity the case has attracted prompted him to agree to a change. Johnston's lawyer, George Zanic, said he originally petitioned for a change of venue because the Department of Corrections was a dominant employer in the region and he believed it would be hard to find an impartial jury.
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