An 18-year-old former babysitter goes on a murderous rampage.

Margo Freshwater

Margo escaped from prison

CASE DETAILS

The year was 1970.  Margo Freshwater, a wide-eyed teenager from Columbus, Ohio, found herself in an unlikely place—the Tennessee State Prison for Women.   The one time babysitter had just been convicted of first-degree murder.  But Margo would not remain incarcerated for long.  On October 4th, Margo and another inmate made an audacious escape.  According to Investigator Tommy Lewis of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Margo and her accomplice made a run for the fence while being escorted by a single unarmed guard:

“The guard had to make a decision whether to stay with the main group or chase after them.  All the guard could do was try to summon some help and have somebody go after them.”

The robbery spree ended in murder

But the help arrived too late and Freshwater vanished. Margo Freshwater has been a wanted fugitive for more than 30 years.  Police believed she had established a new identity and a new life.  Those around her were probably unaware that she was a convicted killer.

Margo Freshwater was just 18-years-old when she walked into the office of 41-year-old Glenn Nash. He was a hard-drinking lawyer whose grip on reality was beginning to slip. Nash was being investigated by the Memphis Bar Association for misconduct. According to Investigator Lewis, he had come to the deluded conclusion that agents from the bar were conspiring against him:

“Glenn Nash was an intelligent person, but somewhere along the line his drinking and mental situation apparently deteriorated and he just took a left hand turn.”

Glenn Nash was declared insane

Margo had come seeking Nash’s help in getting her boyfriend out of jail. Margo had no money to pay Nash and couldn’t even afford a place to stay while in town. Although broke himself, Nash agreed to take the case pro bono. He also put Margo up at a local boarding house where they began an intense affair. But Nash was increasingly consumed by paranoid delusions that agents from the Memphis bar were after him. One evening, he told Margo’s landlady they were going bowling. Instead they went on a three-state crime spree. Nash held up a liquor store as Margo watched. He ordered Margo to stay up front while he took the cashier to the back room. When a customer came into the store, Margo waited on him.  Meanwhile, Nash remained out of sight, accusing the cashier of being an agent of the Memphis bar. The cashier, Hillman Robbins, was tied up with rope and shot five times in the head. According to Investigator Lewis, a .22 and .38 were both used in the murder:

“I seriously doubt Margo knew that any of this was coming until it got started.”

Witnesses saw two people matching Margo and Nash’s description flee the liquor store and hop into a white Ford Fairlane. Twelve days later, eyewitnesses described an almost identical scene at a Florida convenience store.  A couple exited the building and sped off.  Inside the store was the body of Esther Boyea.  She had been shot in the neck.

She was found after 30 years

Police at first did not connect the two murders until they found Nash’s car abandoned on a highway shoulder.  In the trunk they found a rope and bullet shells that matched those used in the Hillman Robbins’ murder.  The car was traced to Glenn Nash and an APB was issued.  But the couple’s rampage was not over.  A cab driver, C.C. Surrett was shot to death shortly after picking up Glenn and Margo.  The police staked out the nearby bus stations.  According to Investigator Lewis, their efforts soon paid off:

“And when they arrested them they were transported to Hernando, Mississippi, to the Desoto County Jail where they were charged in connection with C.C. Surrett’s murder.”

Glenn Nash and Margo Freshwater were charged with the murder of C.C. Surrett.  Nash was declared insane, ruled incompetent to stand trial, and incarcerated at a mental hospital.  Margo stood trial for the murder.  She testified that she was held prisoner by Nash, and forced to participate in the crimes under threat of death.  Twice the jury failed to reach a verdict.  Three years later, Margo was tried for the murder of the first victim, Hillman Robbins.  She was found guilty and sentenced to 99 years in state prison.  But she would not remain there for long.  Margo and another inmate hopped a barbed wire fence, hitched a ride, and disappeared.  Her accomplice was eventually arrested in Chicago.  But Margo Freshwater seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth.

Update:

Margo Freshwater has been arrested.  It began with a tip that she was using the name “Tanya.”  Police found a match between Freshwater’s birth date and the birthday of Tanya McCarter in Columbus, Ohio.  Freshwater, aka McCarter, was taken into custody and her true identity was verified.  At the time of her arrest, Freshwater, a mother of three, was with her family.  They were unaware of her criminal past.  Freshwater was returned to the same Tennessee Prison she escaped from 32 years earlier.  She served her time and has been released.


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season one with Dennis Farina and coming soon with Robert Stack. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

 

16 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Im a cop, no such thing of mandatory parole. Also, it doesnt matter if she didnt kill anyone. A death during an armed robbery is a life sentence but the person who didnt shoot gets possibilty of parole, shooter gets no parole. In Obio she would have gotten death.
    But since she went 30 years without getting caught, they could have gone wither way, Tennessee is casual with woman, overcrowding, not many woman prison there. She should still be tgere tho

    Reply

    • Mike

      “No such thing of mandatory parole”? A quick google search proves you wrong. I doubt you’re a cop, first of all. Second, IF you are, remember your place, you’re a cop, NOT a judge, it doesn’t matter if YOU think she should ” still be tgere.”

      Reply

  2. Dave

    why don’t they tell all of the story.there is a lot left out.i know the truck driver she was married to and had kids with.i feel sorry for her. And it was the ex boyfriend after he got out of the hospital a reporter asked him where she might be he said if he he thinks she a truck driver . And the police looked up cdl holders and she used her real name to get one that’s how she was found.

    Reply

  3. Carl

    I think she should of never went in the first place I’m all for putting down police officers anytime I can I like the judge for letting her go he is one of the best …I’m not the type to run to the police for anything even if they was hurt and needing help I would look the other way and keep stepping

    Reply

  4. Stacey

    I was in prison with Margo and she is very manipulative and is capable of killing anyone

    Reply

  5. ryan

    she was released by a Liberal judge because she’s a woman with children. plain and simple.

    Reply

    • Mike

      Boohoo. Old people always gotta bring politics into crap. Your way of thinking is flawed and I’m not even going to bother trying to explain why.

      Reply

  6. MIKE

    Why can’t these people remain behind bars for life?

    Reply

  7. susan

    It seems that the police and the justice system can impose (or ignore) any sentence they want to. In this case, she was rewarded for her good behavior while out on escape lol. I live in Canada, the police are powerless here too.

    Reply

  8. Um what

    How has she served her time and been released if she was sentenced to 99 years?

    Reply

    • unsolved

      She was resentenced upon her capture, and served part of her sentence. She accumulated enough good-conduct credits to allow her mandatory parole.

      Reply

  9. Elvored

    In this country we give people a second chance, she proved she deserved one by not getting into any trouble and rising a family after her escape, plus I don’t think she killed anyone.She was a young girl, alone in the world who was manipulated by a crazy older man.She was a victim herself.Hope she’s living large.

    Reply

  10. Anonymous

    She has been released!

    Reply

  11. Sky

    Evil witch!

    Reply

  12. sheilya

    how stupid can one person be?

    Reply