A Rogues Gallery: the Backgrounds of the Escapees

The convicts involved in the escape were Bert "Oregon" Jones, Thomas Murray, James Willos, and Ellsworth Kelley. Each had a long history of run-ins with the law.

Jones had previously served time in the Oregon State Reform School and the Oklahoma State Reformatory. He had been sent to the penitentiary to serve a twenty-year term for assault and armed robbery. Jones had escaped from the penitentiary in March of 1924 and had been at large for more than a year before he was identified in custody in Sacramento and was returned in April 1925.

Bert Jones


Thomas Murray had previously served time at San Quentin. He was serving a ten-year sentence for larceny and assault with a deadly weapon.

Tom Murray


Ellsworth Kelley had previously served a two-year sentence at the penitentiary from 1915 to 1917, as well as time in various county jails. A partner of Bert Jones, Kelley was serving a twenty-year sentence for aiding prisoners to escape. He had escaped from the penitentiary and been recaptured twice before his 1925 escape.

Elsworth Kelley


James Willos had served time in San Quentin and the Oklahoma State Reformatory before being sent to the penitentiary from Umatilla County. He was serving a seven-year term for burglary.

James Willos

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