The FBI has captured William Walter Asher III, a convicted killer who escaped from prison and spent three decades on the lam. The case broke wide open when Asher’s mother put the word out that she wanted to speak with him one last time before she died.

In 1966, Asher and three accomplices robbed a San Francisco bar, shot the bartender and beat him to death. Asher spent a year underground before he was caught, tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Eight years into his sentence, Asher escaped from a prison in El Dorado County, Calif. Authorities eventually tracked him to the Northern Territories of Canada, where he had assumed a new life. There, Asher became David Donald Mcfee, a long-haul truck driver with a wife and a family. When the couple separated, the trail went cold again.

Then in 2005, Asher’s mother asked relatives to use the “secret” number to call her son. A source tipped authorities about the call, which prompted agents to search the phone records of people who they believed helped fulfill the woman’s dying wish. That search led agents to a home in Salida, Calif., that belonged to a 66-year-old man named Garry Donald Webb.

On Aug. 19, agents confronted Asher, who confessed to his true identity. He was immediately placed under arrest. The woman he was living with said she was unaware of his fugitive status, the FBI said. No word yet on whether the people who knew of his location will be charged with obstruction of justice.


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