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On This Day In History...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Jun 30, 1981:
A First-Time Offender Ends Up On The FBI's Ten Most Wanted List

~~"Glen Godwin, a young business owner, is convicted of murder in Riverside County, California, and sentenced to 26-years-to-life in prison. According to his roommate's testimony, Godwin stomped on, choked, and then stabbed Kim LeValley, an acquaintance and local drug dealer, 28 times before using homemade explosives to blow up his body in the desert near Palm Springs. Godwin, who had no previous record, eventually found his way onto the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.

In 1985, while serving his sentence at Soledad Prison, Godwin married Shelley Rose. He was then transferred to Folsom Prison, a maximum-security facility, where he escaped through a 300-yard storm drain and floated across the American River on a raft to freedom in June 1987. Apparently gaining assistance from someone who cut the iron bars on the storm drain from the outside, Godwin was the third person to escape from Folsom in 25 years. Lorenz Karlic, who had once shared a cell with Godwin, was arrested in Hesperia, California, for aiding Godwin in his escape.

After two years without any leads on either Glen or Shelley, who was last seen renting a car at the San Jose Airport, authorities were notified of a man in a Mexican prison under the name of Stewart Carrera, whose fingerprints matched those of Godwin's. Reportedly, Mexican authorities had arrested Glen on drugs and weapons charges six months after his escape.

While California officials were working to have Godwin extradited back to the United States, he murdered a fellow inmate in Puerto Vallarta Prison—an attempt to avoid returning to the high security prisons in California. Shortly thereafter, he escaped from the Mexican jail.

In December 1996, Godwin appeared on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. Shelley Godwin, who, unbeknownst to California law enforcement officials, had divorced her husband and remarried in Texas, was apprehended in Dallas when a story on the Godwin case appeared on television's America's Most Wanted, but Glen Godwin remains at large."

Jun 30, 2013:
19 Firefighters Die in Arizona Blaze

~~"On this day in 2013, 19 firefighters perish while battling a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona. All were members of the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew, an elite group of wildland firefighters that was part of the Prescott (Arizona) Fire Department. It was the deadliest day for U.S. firefighters since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

What became known as the Yarnell Hill Fire was ignited by a lightning strike at around 5:30 p.m. on June 28 near Yarnell, a former gold-mining town about 35 miles south of Prescott and 80 miles northwest of Phoenix. Two days later, on June 30, the blaze intensified and rapidly spread. That afternoon, the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who had been building a fire line (an area in which all vegetation has been removed to prevent a blaze from spreading) along a ridge top, headed down into a basin and were caught off guard when a sudden change in wind direction sent huge flames straight toward them. With nowhere to escape, the 19 members of the all-male crew deployed small emergency shelters shortly after 4:45 p.m. These shelters, last-ditch safety devices resembling sleeping bags covered in aluminum, can protect against heat but melt at extreme temperatures. The men deployed the shelters as they’d been trained, with the least experienced hotshots going first and the most experienced going last. However, the temperature of the fire reached more than 2,000 degrees, and the shelters only were designed to withstand up to 1,200 degrees.

The fallen firefighters were almost all in their 20s or 30s. The lone survivor of the 20-person Granite Mountain crew had been assigned to act as a lookout that day and wasn’t with his fellow hotshots when they were overtaken by the blaze.

The Yarnell Hill Fire finally was contained on July 10, after burning some 8,400 acres and destroying more than 100 structures. In September 2013, the Arizona State Forestry Division, which oversaw the firefighting efforts, released the results of an investigation that concluded there was no evidence of negligence or recklessness in the firefighters’ deaths. However, later that year, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health criticized the Forestry Division's management of the Yarnell Hill fire-suppression operations and charged the agency with, among other things, prioritizing the protection of "non-defensible structures and pastureland" ahead of firefighter safety.

"Hotshot" crews of elite firefighters got their start in Southern California in the 1940s. Today, there are approximately 110 crews across the United States."


Jun 30, 1962:
Sandy Koufax Pitches First No-Hitter

~~"On June 30, 1962, Sandy Koufax strikes out 13 batters and walks five to lead the Brooklyn Dodgers to victory over the New York Mets 5-0 with his first career no-hitter. Koufax went on to throw three more no-hitters, including a perfect game on September 9, 1965, in which he allowed no hits and no walks.

Sandy Koufax was a talented all-around athlete from Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York. His first love was basketball, and he attended the University of Cincinnati on a basketball scholarship. His impressive left arm, however, attracted the attention of major league ball clubs and in 1954 he was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Despite his promising talent, Koufax won just 36 games to 51 losses from 1955 to 1961, and was incredibly inconsistent, blowing hitters away one game and walking runs in the next. Finally, advice from veteran catcher Norm Sherry turned Koufax around. As Koufax recounted in his autobiography, Sherry told him to "take the grunt out of the fastball."

From 1962 to 1966, Sandy Koufax executed what are arguably the five greatest seasons by a pitcher in baseball history. His newfound control limited his walks from 4.8 per game to just 2.1. His first no-hitter on this day in 1962 saw him walk five men, but after six innings he had already struck out 12 batters. He pitched a no-hitter every year after that until 1965 and led the Dodgers to World Series wins in 1963 and 1965 and the National League pennant in 1966. He won four World Series games, with a .95 earned run average and 61 strikeouts for his postseason career. Koufax won three Cy Young Awards (1963, 1965 and 1966), all of them unanimous. In 1965 he struck out 382 men, breaking Rube Waddell’s 1904 record of 350 by 32. According to longtime Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, Koufax was so well-regarded that he would often receive a standing ovation from fans while just warming up for a game.

Sandy Koufax retired after the 1966 season at just 30 years old because of arthritis in his elbow. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972."
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