How has an escaped convicted killer evaded law enforcement for more than 45 years?
On the night of November 14, 1965, 14-year-old Mary Ellen Deener and her younger sister head to the Half Hour Laundromat in Mansfield, Ohio. The family’s washer has broken down and Mary Ellen’s mother feels her daughters are safe because their grandmother lives next door to the laundromat. When the girls run out of change, Mary Ellen leaves, alone, in search of more quarters. Lester Eubanks, 22, a former Air Force medic who had been arrested twice for sex offenses, is out on bond for an attempted rape. When he spots Mary Ellen, he grabs her, drags her behind a vacant house, and attempts to rape her. She screams. Lester shoots her twice, then leaves her for dead. Forty-five minutes later, after still hearing her faint cries for help, Lester returns to the scene and smashes her head with a brick. Mary Ellen dies with a handful of coins next to her body. Her murder rocks the town of Mansfield. Mary Ellen’s older sister, Myrtle Carter, laments that their mother, plagued by guilt, died of a broken heart.
By midnight the following day, Eubanks is apprehended by the Mansfield Police and confesses to the crime. In 1966, the following year, Eubanks is sentenced to death. In 1972, however, the US Supreme Court abolishes the death penalty and Eubanks’ death sentence is commuted to life in prison. This opens the door for Eubanks to take part in the Ohio prison system “rehabilitation” activities. Some prisoners attend football games, some go to the Ohio State Fair, while others are allowed to go shopping. On December 7, 1973, Lester Eubanks, who has been awarded “honor prisoner” status, along with three other prisoners, is dropped off at the Great Southern Shopping Mall outside Columbus, Ohio. When guards return four hours later, Lester is long gone.
After America’s Most Wanted airs the story about Eubanks in 1994, authorities learn that Lester hid out in Detroit, Michigan for a few weeks, then boarded a Greyhound bus for Los Angeles. He changes his name to Victor Young and moves in with his cousin’s widow, Kay Banks. But Kay’s patience eventually runs out. In 1975, Kay fabricates a story that the FBI has been asking questions. Lester flees Kay’s home and hasn’t been seen since. Despite the assistance of the FBI and Interpol, Lester managed to stay one step ahead of law enforcement for more than 30 years.
In 2015, U.S. Marshal David Siler takes over the Eubanks case. Siler is convinced Lester is married with children who have no idea that he is a murderer and prison escapee. Mary Ellen’s sister holds out hope that someone who knows Lester Eubanks, aka Victor Young, will step forward to bring justice to her sister’s killer. Eubanks has two distinctive physical features: a 1-1/2″ round scar on his upper-right arm and a 3″ scar on the same arm. He is left handed and a talented artist.
The U.S. Marshals Department is offering up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Lester Eubanks. If you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Lester Eubanks, contact the US Marshals at 866-4-WANTED.