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November 15, 2008 Chief Inspector Keith Booker
USMS Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force
(404) 909-0449;
USMS Headquarters Public Affairs (202) 307-9065
Capture of U.S. Marshals "15 Most Wanted," Johnny Mack Brown
Johnny Mack Brown (Captured)Lavonia, GA - At approximately 1:30 on Saturday morning, uniformed officers from the Lavonia Police Department captured U.S. Marshals '15 Most Wanted' fugitive, Johnny Mack Brown. Brown was captured in a wooded area in Franklin County after being spotted as he walking along railroad tracks in the area. As officers attempted to identify him, in an effort to elude law enforcement, Brown ran across a four lane highway into the woods. As officers and canine units caught up with Brown, he fought with them and had to be subdued with force, including the use of a Taser.

Brown, who escaped Oct. 13 from Hays State Prison in Trion, GA, was added to the Marshals' Most Wanted list on Halloween night. He and fellow inmate, Michael Tweedel, made their way to freedom by climbing atop a dormitory building to avoid an interior fence and scaling two perimeter fences and eight strands of razor wire.

Brown began his stay at Hays State Prison in 1999. He was serving a life sentence plus 70 years for the 1997 shooting of an armored-car guard in which he was convicted of aggravated assault with intent to murder, armed robbery, aggravated battery, theft by taking, hijacking a motor vehicle and aggravated assault.

This was Brown's second escape from prison. He previously escaped Georgia's Clarke County Jail in 1998 by crawling under a fence and scaling a wall. He then went on a three-state crime spree that included breaking into a South Carolina home and hiding in the attic unnoticed for three days. When the homeowner discovered him, Brown beat the 84-year-old man with a barbell. Brown was apprehended three weeks after that escape in Daytona, Fla.

Upon Brown and Tweedel's escape from Hays, authorities launched a massive search from land and air that involved over 65 officers and canine units, including numerous members of the U.S. Marshals' Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force (SERFTF). Brown was next spotted Oct. 20 when he allegedly abducted a Chattooga County, Ga. woman from her home at knife point and forced her to drive him to Franklin County, GA, where he had family connections.

During the investigation, information gathered by the Georgia Department of Corrections and the SERFTF was relayed to authorities in Franklin County, who, along with the GBI and Highway Patrol, recently concentrated their search efforts in the rural areas surrounding the county. Based on that information, they were able to positively identify Brown after locating him in the early morning hours.

“The apprehension of ‘Top 15’ fugitive Johnny Mack Brown demonstrates a familiar outcome when criminals are put on our most wanted list,” said Director John F. Clark of the U.S. Marshals Service. “Putting a spotlight on these fugitives, and committing the resources of the U.S. Marshals and our partners to bring them in, means their days of violent, criminal behavior are numbered and they will be brought back to justice.”

The U.S. Marshals Service is the nation's oldest federal law enforcement agency. Annually, U.S. Marshals arrest more federal fugitives and serve more federal warrants than all other federal agencies combined. For more information on USMS 15 Most Wanted fugitives and USMS Major Cases, go to

    Original News Release

America’s Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency