PORTLAND, Maine – Law enforcement authorities continued their dayslong search Monday for a convicted murderer who escaped for a third time from prison in Maine, fleeing from a minimum security unit little more than a year before his release date.
Corrections Commissioner Joseph Fitzpatrick floated the theory that 65-year-old Arnold Nash had spent much of his life in prison and may not have wanted to leave. He said corrections officials monitor visits and are interviewing individuals that Nash may have contacted in the past.
"I'd really like the public to know that we do consider Mr. Nash dangerous," Fitzpatrick said, as he urged the public to share tips with police.
Nash was serving a 45-year sentence for killing his former neighbor in North Sullivan in 1991. Fitzpatrick said he was due to be released in December 2019 because of credits he received for time served in jail and statutory good time provisions.
Nash was last seen Thursday evening at the minimum security unit at Mountain View Correctional Facility in Charleston. Nash was wearing blue jeans and a light blue shirt.
He was in an unfenced facility at the time of his escape Thursday, according to Fitzpatrick, who declined to share further details about Fitzpatrick's escapes.
Fitzpatrick on Monday defended Nash's placement in minimum-security and said research shows that prisoners with long sentences require help with rehabilitation and integration before being released. Nash was housed at the Charleston facility since February, and had spent the six months prior at the now-shuttered, minimum-security Downeast Correctional Facility, according to Fitzpatrick.
"I can tell you that Mr. Nash would have been more of a risk to the community had we kept him at a secure facility up to his last day," Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said that Nash had few minor disciplinary infractions and that it doesn't appear Nash escaped because of poor supervision.
"He was not overly problematic to manage in the time we had him," Fitzpatrick said.
Nash escaped from Maine Correctional Center in Windham while serving time for larceny in 1973.
He escaped again in 1981 in hopes of reaching Canada while working on the farm at Maine State Prison in Thomaston. A 22-day long manhunt ended when officials found Nash and another man camped in the woods, and game warden John Ford said that the two men at one point held him at gunpoint.
Ford told WABI-TV that he questions why Nash was recently being held at the minimum security facility.
Fitzpatrick said there have been no confirmed sightings of Nash. The commissioner said officials will be reviewing the escape and improving procedures, if needed.