TWO PRISONERS ESCAPED
FROM JAIL FRIDAY
Published by THE LEAD BELT NEWS
Flat River, St. Francois Co. MO
Friday, November 20, 1925
On last Friday afternoon two prisoners, Sterling Stegall and William Bequette, made
their escape from the county jail at Farmington. At the time this happened the officers
were all out of town so the prisoners walked away without any hindrance. For a time it was
quite a mystery as to how they escaped from the main cell in which they were securely
fastened. Later O. O. Cain, constable of St. Francois township, began to make
investigation as to how this escape was accomplished. He had a private talk with one of
the prisoners by the name of Harry Cooper, who told Cain that he would show him just how
it was done by Stegall.
Stegall had made an instrument with the material available, consisting of a piece of
broom handle and the clamp off of a steam hose, with which by the use of a mirror he could
remove a nut from the bolt which held the cell door secure. After Stegall and Bequette got
out of the cell they placed the nut back just as it was and gave their invention to the
other prisoners for use after they were sentenced, as they expected to be at this term of
circuit court. After having accomplished this they made an alarm for the lady who feeds
them and said they wanted some bread to eat with some chicken that they had left. When the
lady came with the bread and opened the outside door, which was all that was between them
and liberty, they rushed out behind her and up to this time have not been captured.
Stegall had many charges against him and was expecting to draw a heavy sentence but
Bequette was charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
It is reported that Harry Cooper, who revealed the mystery and probably prevented the
same kind of plan being carried out again, will have his case suspended for the time being
or as long as he shows good behavior.