Case File #0078
Glen Stewart Godwin
"The most dangerous man I have ever met"
Glen Stewart Godwin was imprisoned for the brutal murder of a former friend and fled to Mexico after his subsequent escape from prison for that crime. Whilst in prison he murdered another inmate and escaped again. In 1996 the FBI's added Godwin to the ten most wanted list, only removing him in 2016. His escape from Folsom prison in 1987 could be considered the inspiration for Stephen King's Shawshank Redemption.
Godwin was living in Palm Springs, California during the late 1970's with his roommate Frank Soto Jr., and had worked in several professions, including a mechanic, construction worker and as a self-employed tool salesman. He had never had any criminal convictions nor was he even known to police until the Autumn of 1980. Godwin was known to be very popular with women and was considered vain by his friends.
Godwin, together with Soto planned to rob a former friend of their known as Kim Robert LeValley. They believed LeValley would have a significant amount of money on him because he was drug dealer. They lured LeValley to the condominium they shared under the pretence of buying drugs from him. When he arrived they attacked him, with Soto restraining him whilst Godwin punched and kicked him. They attempted to strangle him and when that didn't work Godwin grabbed a butcher's knife and stabbed him 26 times.
The two men then loaded LeValley's body into his truck and drove into the Eagle Mountains. Godwin tried to blow up the remains by strapping homemade explosives to the body which consisted of fuel oil, nitrogen fertiliser and dynamite in an attempt to disguise the murder. The explosions damaged the truck but did not sufficiently disguise the knife wounds to LeValley's body. On 3 August 1980 the truck was discovered with the human remains inside, seemingly abandoned in the desert of Riverside County.
The police investigation found LeValley was last seen with Godwin and Soto at their residence and during the autopsy, the pathologist found the knife wounds which he attributed to a serrated edge knife. Both Godwin and Soto were brought in for questioning and under intense police questioning they were linked to the murder. Godwin was charged with first degree murder. At the trial in 1982, Soto testified against Godwin for a reduced sentence, calling him "the most dangerous man I have ever met" and the prosecution were able to prove that Godwin had been the driving force behind the robbery and murder. Soto was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.
He was incarcerated at Soledad Prison where he began correspondence with Shelley Rose. She started to visit him and they began a relationship, however in 1983 he was handed a sentence of 26 years to life. Despite this they married in 1985 and several years later he was transferred to Deuel Vocational Institute in California where he struck up a friendship with another inmate, Lorenz Karlic. Godwin attempted to escape in 1987 and because of this, he was transferred to Folsom Prison, a maximum-security facility.

Glen Stewart Godwin

Folsom Prison

Whilst at Folsom Godwin plotted his escape and paid a fellow inmate to tamper with his security designation which helped him to get assigned to work in another part of the prison. This are was an older section of the prison with looser oversight from the guards. He also requested help from his wife Shelley and his former cellmate at Deuel, Lorenz Karlic. They smuggled a hacksaw into the prison and on 5 June 1987 he used it to cut a hole through the fence wire and jumped into a storm drain.
This drain was 750 feet long and emptied into the American River. Reminiscent of Andy Dufresne's escape, the fictional character in Shawshank Redemption, Godwin crawled through the pitch black drain to freedom. His wife and Karlic had cut the iron bars on the storm drain exit and painted smiley faces on rocks to help with his escape. They also arranged for an inflatable raft to be left at the drain exit which Godwin used to float across the American river.
When the prison authorities realised Godwin was missing, he was already miles away. Police believed either Shelley Godwin, Lorenz Karlic or both had aided his escape and a warrant was issued for Karlic's arrest. In June 1987 Karlic was apprehended in Hesperia, California, and convicted for aiding Godwin's escape. Shelley Godwin was considered a suspect in her husbands escape and an arrest warrant was issued for her in January 1988. She was eventually arrested in Dallas, Texas on 7 February 1990, however she had recently divorced Godwin and remarried telling investigators she didn't know where her ex-husband was.
Detectives strongly believed Godwin had escaped to Mexico and was now participating in the illegal drug trade. He was eventually arrested in 1991 in Puerto Vallarta and convicted for drug trafficking. He had been running drugs in Guadalajara and was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in Puente Grande prison.
American authorities began the extradition process, however Godwin murdered a Mexican drug trafficker whilst in prison, which delayed the proceedings. He then escaped again on 26 September 1991.
It was believed his escape was aided by members of a Mexican Drug Cartel after he murdered one of their rivals. After this nothing more nothing more was heard from Godwin whom American authorities believe had continued his involvement in the illegal drug trade in South America. He has used several aliases, including Dennis H. McWilliams and Miguel Carrera. Police believe he has also had plastic surgery to alter and keep his looks because of his well known extreme vanity.
On 7 December 1996, Godwin was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List with a reward of up to $20,000, later raised to $100,000 for information leading to his capture. He is considered to be armed and extremely dangerous, and an obvious flight risk. After 20 years, Godwin was removed from the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List on 19 May 2016 with the agency declaring "We think the payoff from the publicity has diminished over time".

Written by Nucleus