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Police Find Man Convicted of Murder Running a Wedding Chapel

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By Kamika Dunlap on March 25, 2010 3:15 PM

Convicted of murder, Frank Dryman was a fugitive for 38 years, apparently running a wedding chapel in Arizona instead of serving out his life sentence in a Montana Prison.

Dryman, who was living under an assumed name as Victor Houston in Arizona skipped out on parole and was operating a notary and chapel business in Arizona City, CNN reports. A hitchhiker, Dryman was originally sentenced to be executed for the 1951 killing of Clarence Pellett, who picked him up during a blizzard.

At the time Dryman was a 19-year-old drifter carrying a loaded gun with which he killed Pellet on a Montana roadside, according to state records.

Convicted of murder, Dryman originally received a hanging sentence in 1955. His case became the focus of a battle over the death penalty, and he received a new sentence of life in prison. In 1969, after 15 years in prison, he was paroled and disappeared.

That was until Clem Pellet, the victim's grandson hired an investigator who tracked down the 78-year-old fugitive in Arizona. Dryman is now awaiting extradition proceedings to send him back to a Montana prison.

In general, a fugitive is an individual who, after having committed a criminal offense, leaves the jurisdiction of the court where such crime has taken place or hides within such jurisdiction to escape prosecution.

In addition, a fugitive from justice who flees from one state to another may be subjected to extradition from the state to which he or she has fled.

Officials said Dryman will now face a parole revocation hearing and possible resumption of his life in prison sentence.

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