Escaped killer ordered back to Florida

MONTROSE — Convicted murderer Frederick Barrett will be returning to prison in Florida some 32 years after his escape in 1979, a judge determined Wednesday.

During the writ-of-habeas-corpus hearing, Barrett appeared in person for the first time to challenge his detention and his ability to post bond.

Seventh Judicial District Judge Jeff Herron denied the request and ordered Barrett to be extradited in accordance with a signed extradition order by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Barrett, 61, expressed concerns for his safety if he is returned to Florida. Prison officials there say Barrett used a fire extinguisher to help guards ward off a 1973 prison riot at a garment factory.

Barrett said if he returned, he would be a target for retribution.

Barrett escaped the Union Correctional Institute in Raiford, Fla., on Aug. 17, 1979, during a power outage. He was serving time for his 1971 conviction in the death of Carl P. Ardolino, a New Jersey man traveling on vacation. Ardolino picked up Barrett, who was hitchhiking on the side of a Florida highway. Barrett and another man choked Ardolino in the car and drowned him in a shallow ditch.

Records show Barrett had been living on the Western Slope, including the communities of Paonia and Montrose, under the assumed name Richard Meltzer since the late 1980s or early 1990s.

“He expressed some concerns about returning to Florida. He wanted to serve his sentence here, but Florida (officials) was not receptive to his request,” Barrett’s public defender, Harvey Palefsky, said Wednesday.

U.S. Marshals arrested Barrett without incident on July 27 at his remote cabin on the Uncompahgre Plateau, about 30 miles southwest of Montrose.

Barrett, whose address is listed as a latitude and longitude reading on an arrest affidavit, had been living at the cabin since at least 1998.


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