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Richard McCoy, Jr.
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    (December 7, 1942-November 9, 1974)
    Born in Kinston, North Carolina
    Hijacked United Airlines Flight 855, a Boeing 727 en route from Newark, New Jersey to Los Angeles (April 7, 1972)
    Boarded the flight on a Denver stopover, and 20 minutes after takeoff, produced a hand grenade and pistol
    Demanded to be taken to San Francisco, given $500,000 and four parachutes, then flown over Utah
    Bailed out of the aircraft over the Provo, Utah area with the money
    Arrested by the F.B.I. two days later and charged with air piracy
    Given a 45 year sentence to be served at the Federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
    Escaped from prison with several other inmates (August 10, 1974)
    Killed by a shotgun blast during a shootout with the F.B.I. in Virginia Beach, Virginia at age 31
    He wanted to become an F.B.I. or C.I.A. agent, but opted for a life of crime instead.
    His hijacking occured four months after the notorious D.B. Cooper case, indicating either a copycat crime or the two were one in the same.
    Although methodology in the two hijackings were strikingly similar, fingerprint and DNA analysis ruled him out as D.B. Cooper.
    Rather than trying to throw authorities off his trail, he bailed out over his hometown.
    He told an acquaintance of the ease it would be to hijack a plane and his 'foolproof' plan to do so - info that was turned over to the F.B.I.
    The F.B.I. raided his house and recovered $499,970, which meant he got to spend a whopping $30 of his illegally obtained assets.
    He left a note with his handwriting on the plane, which was used to help successfully prosecute him.
    Like John Dillinger, he was able to escape prison with use of a fake gun, only his was made of dental paste (he had access to the prison's dental office).
    Rather than surrendering peacefully he chose to die in a hail of gunfire.
    He served two tours of duty in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War as a demolition expert and helicopter pilot, winning a Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross.
    He met and married his wife while both were attending Brigham Young University.
    He taught Mormon Sunday school classes.
    Though the flight crew of the plane he hijacked didn't know it, the grenade he had was a fake and his pistol had no bullets because he didn't want to hurt anybody - he just wanted money.
    His hijacking was so organized and low key that the 85 passengers on board the plane didn't realize their plight until safely released in San Francisco.
    As a reserve in the National Guard, he was helping authorities look for the hijacker by flying a copter over Provo - in short, he was trying to find himself.
    Two F.B.I. agents wrote a book asserting he and D.B. Cooper were one in the same and his widow was an accomplice.
    His widow filed a civil lawsuit against the agents, the book's publisher and a former lawyer of hers that provided info, and won an out-of-court settlement in 1994.

Credit: Scar Tactics

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