Desperadoes Attempt Jail Break With Home-made Pistols (Apr, 1933)

Desperadoes Attempt Jail Break With Home-made Pistols

MECHANICAL ingenuity serves many purposes, the latest and strangest being its application to plans for a jailbreak at Folsom Prison, California.

Two desperadoes, Marty Colson, in for murder, and Lloyd Sampsell, “Yachting” robber, worked for months with their own hands and prison tools making pistols for the big day. Finally, armed with these weapons, they made a desperate attempt at freedom, held up five employees in the administration building, and sent a message to summon the warden.

The warden got the jump on the criminals, however, and surrounded the prison with armed guards. Sampsell finally surrendered, but Colson turned his homemade pistol on himself and fired a homemade bullet into his heart.

  1. Justin says: March 1, 20086:25 pm

    I understand that a single-shot pistol can be pretty simple to fabricate, but how would a prisoner make the ammunition? Metal shops aren’t unheard of in prisons, but gunpowder and primers?

  2. Firebrand38 says: March 1, 20089:03 pm

    Match heads in a tube come to mind, but I was curious as to what a “Yacht bandit” was. It seems
    Mr Sampsell was part of a gang that would sail up and down the California coast on a yacht after a payroll robbery…

    Another quote explains it better: “To give an illustration, we had Sampsell and McNabb, yacht bandits that came down from up north. McNabb was a bos’n with the steamship companies (I think it was the Dollar Line at that time which later became the American President Lines) and a sharp sort of a fellow in a way, but criminally inclined. Sampsell’s father owned a lot of restaurants in Los Angeles, and Sampsell had been in trouble before. He and McNabb teamed up. They became the yacht bandits. Now, they sailed this yacht down from up north to San Francisco. They had a plan on robbing banks, and as a result they robbed a bank in San Francisco, a bank in Berkeley, and a bank in north Oakland on Piedmont Avenue.”

    See http://content.cdlib.or…

    Apparently he finished his sentence and in 1948 committed murder during a robbery http://www.claralaw.cpd…

    He was eventually executed in the gas chamber 25 April 1952 http://www.deathpenalty…

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