This is an excerpt from a recent column about two famous-or infamous- prisoners at Alcatraz.
At Alcatraz the other inmates called him the Choctaw Kid and at 18 he was famous for being the youngest person ever imprisoned there. His fame increased in 1946 when he and two other inmates participated in the so-called “Battle of Alcatraz” when the three tried to escape resulting in the deaths of three other inmates and two prison officials as well as the wounding of dozens of others. His partners Sam Shockley and Miran Thompson were sentenced to death following the failed attempt but the Choctaw Kid was spared. Because of his young age and as he hadn’t directly participated in the murders he was given a 99 year sentence.
The Choctaw Kid was now more famous than Al Capone and he remained at Alcatraz in a segregated unit until the prison closed in 1963. Through the years several movies and documentaries were made about the “Battle for Alcatraz”. The Kid himself served the remainder of his time at several different prisons until he died of AIDS in 1988 at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He was buried in a pauper’s grave but the following year Massachusetts organized crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger arranged to have his remains removed and reburied in an expensive bronze casket in the kid’s hometown of Daisy, Oklahoma. Bulger and the Kid had become close friends while he was in Alcatraz. You see the Choctaw Kid who was of Choctaw Indian descent was born in Daisy on January 14, 1927 and Whitey wanted his friend to be buried back home where he was simply known by his given name of Clarence Victor Carnes. Till next week I’ll see ya down the road….