The grand jury blamed shoddy welding as the cause of the escape from the county’s new jail. The story came out in the January 6, 1943 edition of the Telegram-Tribune. They placed responsibility at the feet of the courthouse architects, Walker and Eisen.
The architects could have been found guilty of putting an ugly building downtown but the grand jury was not charged with investigating aesthetic crimes.
Two felony prisoners, Clyde Peters and James Webb had escaped in early November 1942 shortly after the jail opened.
The grand jury also held criticism for the sheriff’s office and called for a more efficient system of supervision.
The findings were not sugar coated.
“Eventually, it would appear more practical to have a county jail entirely removed from the courthouse, built according to accepted specifications by those jail equipment manufacturers qualified to supply adequate and safe equipment. It appears that the present jail was erected and equipped by people not qualified to do so.”
The report is in stark contrast to the article that ran in the paper August 11, 1942 when the new facility opened up on Osos Street.
Superior Court Judge Ray B. Lyon pronounced sentence at 2 pm.
On January 13, 1943 the Board of Prison Terms and Paroles sentenced Clyde Ervin Peters to a minimum of 12 years in San Quentin with the possibility of a life term pending later decisions.
Peters had been arrested by San Luis Obispo police for a morals offense when he escaped. The escapee was apprehended in Reno in late November.
The other escapee, James Webb was still at large.
In other news 87 county youths age 18-19 were registered during the sixth selective service registration in late December 1942.
A faulty steam engine whistle stuck at the Southern Pacific yards that morning.
Six more hunting knives were collected at the Telegram-Tribune office in the “Save a Life With a Knife” campaign to donate knives to Marines in the South Pacific.
[An editor's note, we are waiting for a part to repair our microfilm machine so I have to work with images already scanned. There may be a little lag in the World War II posts until the repair can be made.]