George Wright, 2011
Michael Finkel in GQ magazine writes about a man named George Wright, a fugitive from the FBI for 40 years.
George Wright, 1962
Who was Mr. Wright, and what had he become?
Before my trip, I'd asked an FBI agent who helped orchestrate Wright's arrest how it was possible for a man to vanish for four decades. The agent said that Wright was an intelligent and conniving con artist, probably a compulsive liar, who would not hesitate to use violence or charm or subterfuge to worm his way out of any situation. Perhaps, the agent hinted, he was a sociopath. In 1962, he participated in a robbery at a gas station in New Jersey, in which he left a man bleeding to death while he went out to dinner. Later he broke out of prison and worked with the Black Panthers.
He was also, said the FBI agent, a domestic terrorist. In 1972, Wright held a gun to the head of a pilot on a plane packed with eighty-six passengers. He received a million dollars in cash—the largest ransom ever paid in an airplane hijacking in the United States—and forced the plane to fly to Algeria. Then he disappeared. In late September of 2011, he was caught. Wright deserved, the agent said, never to see the outside of a prison again, and I found myself nodding in agreement.What was George Wright's story?
When I phoned Wright's attorney, Manuel Luís Ferreira, he insisted that Wright was now a completely different man, kind and gentle to a fault; a caring father, a devoted husband, an active humanitarian—organizer of banquets for the homeless, basketball coach to inner-city kids. He was a threat to no one, said the lawyer, and not deserving of any punishment at all.
"A person can change, you know," Ferreira explained. I said I wasn't so sure. The FBI agent had mused that a man like Wright can only pretend to change. I said I wanted to meet with Wright himself. The attorney, after some thought, offered to drive me to his house.
Read: Uncatchable, GQ>>