Convicted rapist Buckley arrested in Wyoming

jkegley@herald-leader.comMay 15, 2013 

New story: Convicted rapist on the lam had new look, multiple identities, authorities say

John Calvin Buckley IV, a convicted rapist whose escape from a Lexington courthouse sparked a 10-month, nationwide manhunt, was arrested Wednesday in Wyoming.

Police and U.S. marshals captured the 30-year-old former Army Ranger in Laramie, Wyo., about 20 miles north of the Colorado state line, according to news releases from various law enforcement agencies.

The last time anyone reported seeing Buckley was before he fled from the Fayette Circuit Courthouse on July 12 while being tried on rape and sodomy charges. A jury found him guilty about an hour later.

Buckley had been out of jail on bond during the trial. His location was tracked by an ankle monitor, but he was not directly supervised.

He cut off the monitor and left it in the street while the jury deliberated.

Authorities considered him armed and dangerous, in part because of his extensive combat and survival training as a Ranger. In August, the U.S. Marshals Service joined the hunt, issuing a federal warrant charging him with interstate flight to avoid prosecution.

Details were scarce Wednesday about where Buckley had been for the last 10 months, or how police and federal officials found him.

The U.S. Marshals Service office in Lexington announced his capture in a news release. The release credited "investigative efforts by the Central Kentucky Fugitive Task Force and the Lexington Metro Police Department's Detective Reid Bowles."

Deputy U.S. Marshal Craig Smith, the agent in charge of the federal investigation, said Wednesday he could not say much else about the case because the investigation was ongoing into who might have helped Buckley flee and hide.

"We are still actively investigating all avenues of any harboring, aiding and abetting," he said.

More details of the arrest came from a news release from the Laramie Police Department, which assisted the marshals.

Authorities tracked Buckley to a motel in Laramie, but he ran as officers closed in on him Wednesday afternoon. Authorities briefly lost track of him, according to the release.

Dozens of armed officers formed a perimeter around where he was thought to be.

"Buckley was later seen by officers hiding behind underbrush and a dirt berm," the release said.

He tried to run again, but officers subdued him and took him into custody on the federal warrant. He also faces state charges related to his escape, police and prosecutors have said.

Laramie police said Buckley was thought to have been in the area for about a week. Buckley was not armed, and the Laramie Boomerang newspaper reported no guns were found in his hotel room.

Smith said more details will be released at a news conference scheduled for Thursday.

Buckley's father, John Calvin Buckley III, said Wednesday afternoon that a Herald-Leader reporter's phone call was the first he had heard of his son's capture.

The elder Buckley, an attorney in Colorado Springs, Colo., said he was relieved that the encounter didn't end with his son's death. He previously told the Herald-Leader he was worried his son's escape would end in gunfire.

"I'm glad you told me what you told me, because where there's life, there's hope," he said.

Buckley said he had not had contact with his son and did not know where he was.

He said he thinks his son is innocent of the charges he was convicted of and fled to avoid a long time in prison for what was a violent — but consensual — sexual encounter with an ex-girlfriend.

On top of the various escape charges, Buckley has not begun serving his sentence for the rape conviction. The jury recommended 20 years.

"He didn't commit the crime," the elder Buckley said. "But the jury said he did. I guess he's on his way to prison."

Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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