Unsolved Mysteries Volume 2, Episode 3 Recap: Death Row Fugitive

The third episode opens with a voiceover saying that the last thing they want is for Lester Eubanks to die a free man. A woman says Lester killed her sister and that the Bible says that if you take a life, you give your life. Apparently, Lester was on death row, ended up in a shopping mall and escaped. They both want him caught.

Myrtle Carter, who is the sister of Mary Ellen, talks about growing up in Mansfield, Ohio and how it was a nice town to live in because everyone knew everyone and it was a very safe place. She goes on to talk about how Mary Ellen was a typical girl with a lot of friends who giggled and played. She recalls them doing chores as kids and how Mary Ellen and Brenda did laundry the night of the incident. The dryer had broken so they had to take a taxi to the laundromat to dry the clothes. Their mom felt safe because their grandma lived next door.

Mary Ellen had gone to get change, but never came back. Brenda had gone to Mary Ellen’s grandma’s house to tell her Mary Ellen was missing. Grandma went to look for her and saw police where she went for change. Mary Ellen had been shot and killed.

Police were able to figure out what kind of gun was used, so they began scouring gun shops to figure out who owned the gun. They traced it to the Diamond Hardware store and thanks to the records, were able to find the address of the gun’s owner. They show evidence pictures and determine that Lester Eubanks is the one who purchased the gun. An informant claims he saw Lester in the area earlier that night.

Myrtle didn’t know much about him, but thought he was strange and recalls he was a loner and carried nun chucks.

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Deputy US Marshal David Siler said that Lester was a sharp, well liked man and the kind of person who fit in anywhere. However, he would be labeled a sexual predator today. He had been arrested twice for sex offenses and was out on bond for a rape attempt at the time of the murder. He should not have been out, according to John Arcudi, retired police captain.

Lester was questioned and confessed to the crime. It was a very detailed confession (out of respect, it will not be repeated because it can be VERY triggering), which results in David calling him a monster.

Myrtle remembers the police coming to the home to tell the family about the murder. She recalls her mom becoming hysterical and that it impacted Brenda’s life up until the day she died.

David talks about how this monster destroyed a family.

Myrtle and Lt. Dale Fortney recall going to the trial. Myrtle talks about how she wanted Lester to know how many people cared about her sister, while Dale describes him as a narcissist who was only sorry about being caught. David said that he was sentenced to death by the jury of his peers. He was sent to death row at the Ohio State Penitentiary. Myrtle says justice was served….for awhile.

A former death row inmate, “ Bill,” says that he steered clear of Lester and that he didn’t like him. He knew he was in there for murder and talked about how Lester always had an attitude. He also said he was also painting and writing.

David said that back then, death row people were usually doing something constructive with their time, which is why he was doing such activities.

His execution was pushed back three times for unknown reasons. Then, in 1972 the death penalty was abolished. Lester ended up with a life sentence, which angered Myrtle.

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Lester had moved to the general population, where he had put on the facade of being a good guy. He won the guards over and got into an honors program that helped him prepare for life on the outside. He even got to drive trucks from prison to prison, do art shows and venture outside the prison. This led to him going Christmas shopping and eventually escaping. There was a mad search for him with no avail. Everyone, including the police department and Mary Ellen’s family were flabbergasted as to how and why this happened. They think the visitors could have helped him escape and that this was premeditated.

There was a nationwide manhunt for him, with nothing happening until twenty years later. John did some research and realized there were no warrants on him to be found. They realize he could have been let go at a traffic stop without anyone realizing he was a wanted criminal. John and David agree this should not have happened and try to get him on America’s Most Wanted. This gave them a lead that he was living with Kay Banks, his cousin’s widow.

Police go to her home and according to T. Conner, a former LAPD detective, she was fearful of getting into trouble for harboring a fugitive. She admitted they lived together in LA, but don’t anymore. She gave them details of his whereabouts, which included Michigan and California. He almost got caught in California when the bus he was on got pulled over and searched for illegal fruit. Once he realized he didn’t get caught, he went to LA and assumed the identity of Victor Young.

Kay was intimidated by Lester, so she told him the FBI and police were after him to get him out of her life. He ended up leaving, but she was able to give the police his work information. He had been there until the mid eighties. The search continued for him until 1996, when they hit a dead end.

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Another Lt. named Michael Vinson says he hadn’t heard much about the case until 2003, when he was tasked into looking into some things, including older escape cases. The Eubanks case was one of them, so he went to talk to Lester’s father Mose. However, he refused to talk about Lester except to say nothing can bring the girl back and that he prays Lester changed and started a new life. They realize Mose knows where he is and this is confirmed when an informant discovers Mose talked to him and let it slip that he was in Alabama.

The calls were traced to a youth center in Alabama, where a guy matching Lester’s description worked there, but he had no drivers license, a fake social security number and the guy disappearing.

The police find it odd Mose, a man of the cloth was able to forgive Lester, while Myrtle is upset he is living his life and not Mary Ellen. They all agree that Lester needs to be caught, but this job is too big for the police.

In 2018, he went onto the 15 most wanted list and reveal where he has known connections. They also reveal a scar on his arm, his talent for painting and an age progression picture. There is a reward for his capture as well.

Myrtle says she wants him caught and there is contact numbers for anyone with information.

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