NorCal Fugitive Captured After 36 Years On The Run

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13) – They finally got their man. After 36 years on the run, a convicted felon who escaped from custody in El Dorado County back in 1975 has been arrested. And it was a death-bed call from his mother that eventually led to his capture.

FBI, Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies and a state parole agent arrested 66-year-old William Walter Asher on Friday at his home in Salida, where he had been living under the name Garry Donald Webb.

Asher took part in the robbery of a San Francisco bar back in 1966 when he was just 20 years old. The bartender was shot and then beaten to death. Asher was captured in Chicago and then tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

However, in 1975, with the help of a female accomplice from the outside, Asher escaped from California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation – Growlersburg Conservation Camp #33 located outside Georgetown in El Dorado County.

During his years on the run, the FBI tracked him to Canada and Alaska where agents later learned he had assumed the name David Donald Mcfee, raised a family and worked as a long haul trucker.

He eventually split from his wife, but she was unable to give the FBI any information on his whereabouts.

The FBI says it recently got the break it needed when it learned Asher’s mother, Mabel Welch, called her son from her death bed back in 2005 using a “secret” number with the help of various family members.

After checking phone records, the FBI pinpointed two calls made to a home in Salida where a Garry Donald Webb lived. Investigators then compared Webb’s California driver’s license photo and fingerprint with Asher’s and got a match.

On Friday, agents approached Asher as he left the Salida home and he eventually admitted his true identity.

Asher has been booked into the Deuel Vocational Instituted in Tracy.

  • cleotis

    An excape keeps his nose clean for 36years, has a career, and raises a family.
    A parolee gets out and commits crime after crime after crime, and doesn’t rehab.
    while this guy has to pay his time now at least he did not lead a life of crime.
    As far as we know.
    It shows that some can rehab. themselves and others are a lost cause.

    • Whitey

      He’s a white boy, what else would u expect LOL

    • Terry

      Yeah, but what if it was your brother or father the he murdered??

  • Rusty

    That’s what happens when convicted murderers don’t get executed on the spot.

  • swinss


  • Totalaries

    Oh come on he hasnt done anything for 36 years just leave him alone. He is old. I dont want to have to pay to take care of this guy in prison now!

    • Matt

      You’re kidding right?

    • derF


  • Richard S. Hughey

    better turn him lose, he isn’t going to reoffend

  • yo yo

    I didn’t know Eddie Money was an escaped murderer!

  • Tapestry

    The purpose of prison is to rehabilitate the person from harming again.
    No prison term will bring back the person that was killed so
    the point is did he kill again or has he led a straight uneventful life for 36 years? If its the later I say its time to stop chasing down people that make one horrible mistake at a young age and never do it again.
    There are plenty of felons who get out on technicalities and do the same things over and over again. So remember the purpose of the court and the prison system before you throw him into drug infested c ess pool called prison.. it aint’ like it was 36 years ago that is for sure!

    • Matt

      The pupose of prison is not to rehabilitate. Punishment is the #1 purpose of prison. Deterrent is another. This guy was part of a MURDER/ROBBERY, no way you can let him go just because he said “I’m sorry”. He still must pay. Where do you draw the line? Escape for 10 years and all is forgiven? 5 years ? 20 years?

  • huggy185

    Punish him with death so all will know his type of actions are not acceptable in our society.

  • Practical

    This guy kept his nose clean for 36 years. Had a job, raised a family, and as far as we know, never offended again. I don’t want to spend scarce state funds to housw him, feed him, and pay for his health care. Put him on parole, and move on. Far worse criminals are being released daily due to prison overcrowding.

  • Rob

    Finally!!! He deserves to die in jail… To all who think he should be set free, go to hell. How would you feel if he killed ur loved ones and got away. U’d want justice too…

  • Common Sense

    Leave the guy alone, he has a family and it a not a threat to anyone at this point. Where as in prison he will learn a new trade such as robbery and other fine social points.
    After all we all just let some mother go that murdered her daughter.

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