Shawshank redeemed

Nestor Canavarro

For more than 50 years, Harold Frank Freshwater fled a 20-year sentence after he was convicted of manslaughter when he ran over a pedestrian in 1957. Freshwater was sent to the Ohio State Reformatory, which served as the set for the fictional Shawshank Prison in Frank Darabont’s Shawshank Redemption based on a novella by Stephen King. Freshwater’s own story also parallels that of Andy Dufresne, both of whom escaped state custody and remained free for decades.

Freshwater had a run-in with the law in 1975, when he was captured in West Virginia but subsequently escaped, spending the rest of his life on the run. The 79-year-old was living as William Harold Cox, a retired truck driver, in the city of Melbourne, Florida. A state cold case unit tracked him down, and after a direct confrontation, Freshwater revealed his identity. It came down to a choice, and he decided to get busy living.