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Actor’s Father Attempts Escape From Federal Prison

July 6, 1995

ATLANTA (AP) _ Actor Woody Harrelson’s father, serving a life sentence for assassinating a federal judge, attempted to escape from federal prison with two other inmates by climbing over a wall, authorities said Wednesday.

Charles V. Harrelson, 56, and bank robbers Gary L. Settle, 29, and Michael Rivers, 56, surrendered Tuesday night after a warning shot was fired from the guard tower, official said.

They climbed a wall with a makeshift rope, authorities said.

All three inmates were in the special unit Wednesday pending further investigation, prison spokesman Mike Binion said.

Harrelson was convicted of assassinating U.S. District Judge John H. Wood Jr. in Texas in 1979.

Evidence at the trial portrayed Harrelson, who already had served time for a murder-for-hire conviction, as a professional hit man hired by drug dealer Jimmy Chagra to kill the judge, who was scheduled to preside over Chagra’s drug trial.

Wood, known as ``Maximum John″ for the stiff sentences that he dealt to drug offenders, was gunned down May 29, 1979, outside his San Antonio condominium.

Chagra was later acquitted of charges he had Wood killed, although his wife and brother were convicted in the plot. Chagra is currently serving time in federal prison on other charges.

Harrelson’s son, Woody, gained fame portraying a bartender in the television sitcom ``Cheers″ and has starred in movies such as ``Natural Born Killers″ and ``White Men Can’t Jump.″

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