Two weeks before the first Christmas of the new millennium, seven inmates at the maximum security John Connally Unit in Karnes County, Texas busted out of the facility through a combination of brute force and vaudevillian deception.
Led by an inmate named George Rivas, the motley crew lured a maintenance supervisor into a warehouse and knocked him out with an axe handle to the head. This kicked off a chain of events which forced them to use this same strategy to incapacitate two prison guards and seven other maintenance men.
What happened next sounds like the plot of a kid's cartoon show. The prisoners stole staff uniforms, guns from one of the watchtowers and the keys to a prison truck, and used a combination of all three to buy their tickets to freedom.
Post-breakout, the gang went on a crime spree across Texas until they were recaptured in Colorado, but not before they had killed a police officer.
Three members of the Texas Seven are now on death row. One of the gang members committed suicide upon recapture and the others were previously executed.