After 48 hours of waiting to see Otis Blunt I finally got my chance. And to say our first encounter did not go well would be an understatement.
Blunt had escaped with another inmate from the Union County New Jersey jail three weeks ago-- "Shawshank Redemption" style. For those who haven't seen the movie, it goes like this: Inmate uses makeshift tools to chip a hole from their cell to the outside. Inmate then covers the hole with pictures of scantily clad women to fool the guards. That's what Otis Blunt and his prison mate Jose Espinosa did.
Espinosa was caught earlier this week several blocks from the prison with a hurt foot. Blunt, we learned from a tip, made it to Mexico City. He checked into a rundown motel on January second under an alias... U.S. marshalls caught him there Wednesday. Officials said he'd been holed up there with an unidentified woman.
We went to mexico city with hope of a possible interview with Blunt. It never happened. But I did get a face to face meeting with him. We got a late tip Blunt was scheduled to be on an early flight back to the us the next day so I booked myself on the first flight back. It was early, a little after 6AM and I was sitting at the Aeromexico gate in Mexico City's airport, half asleep.
I saw Blunt flanked by Mexican immigration authorities and a U.S. marshal. I approached cautiously, noticing he was not restrained. The minute I introduced myself, Blunt started shouting, saying "get the 'F' away from me." He was very angry. The U.S. marshall said if Blunt became more agitated they would pull him from the flight. He also said once on U.S. soil, we could ask whatever we wanted and take whatever pictures we needed. So I backed off and waited for the four-hour-plus flight back to JFK airport in New York. Blunt was seated in the back of the plane, seat 30F. U.S. marshals put hand restraints on him for which, I would be thankful later...
Once we landed, the pilot instructed all passengers to remain in their seats. Several U.S. marshals boarded the flight to escort Blunt off. I wanted a chance to ask him so many questions about his escape. As he came up the aisle past my seat, I took out my blackberry, ready to take a quick picture of him on the plane. I was also sitting next to a print photographer from the New York Daily News and we both stood up. I tried to ask Blunt why he gave up. His reply to me, "get that F-ing camera out of my face!" then he took a swing... I took the shot of him with my blackberry camera. It's blurry but i think anyone who see's it will get the picture.