A St. Tammany Parish fugitive who escaped from custody in 1989 while serving a sentence for manslaughter was captured Friday after federal authorities pulled him over near Mobile, Alabama.
The fugitive, Andy Fowler, 59, had been on the run for almost 25 years. He escaped from the Work Training Facility/South in New Orleans on June 16, 1989, about a month after he was reportedly denied parole in the beating death of 48-year-old Rickey Fontenot, of Pearl River.
Fontenot died after a March 1983 fight with Fowler over Fontenot’s girlfriend, according to news accounts at the time. Prosecutors had charged Fowler with murder, but a jury convicted him of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Fowler, also of Pearl River, would have been eligible for parole on June 26, 1989, The Times-Picayune reported at the time, but his petition was denied.
A confidential source told the warden of the Work Training Facility/South at the time, Frank L. Jobert Jr., that Fowler “was going to Texas to meet a former inmate and friend,” according to federal court documents. “Jobert also received other information from another confidential source indicating Fowler was traveling west, possibly to Texas.”
A judge in Baton Rouge’s 19th Judicial District Court signed an arrest warrant for Fowler the day he escaped, and a federal magistrate in New Orleans issued a warrant the next year charging him with “unlawful flight to avoid confinement.”
Mary Beth Romig, an FBI spokeswoman, said federal authorities received a tip this week and took Fowler into custody Friday afternoon after a traffic stop in Semmes, Alabama. She said the arrest was made by agents in the FBI’s Mobile office, as well as the FBI New Orleans Violent Crimes Task Force.
Romig said Fowler will be held as a state fugitive in Alabama pending his extradition to Louisiana.
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