Like many teen-agers, Pamela D. Keary really wanted to see the Smashing
Pumpkins when they came through her town.
And, like many of her peers, she did.
Only in this teen's case, it wasn't a matter of convincing mom and dad and coming up
with the money to cover the ticket. Instead, it was a matter of escaping from her prison
Serving a 12-year, second-degree murder sentence for her part in the stoning/stabbing
death of a Somali immigrant a year ago, Keary slipped out of the Minnesota Correctional
Facility at Shakopee at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Friday, eluding police until the wee
hours of Saturday morning, long enough to catch the entire Pumpkins concert.
During her brief period of freedom, she joined an estimated 100,000 fans who turned out
to see the multi-platinum Chicago rockers play their only free U.S. show at the Hennepin
Avenue block party in downtown Minneapolis.
"She walked away from a recreation area during a time of no structured activity," said
Barb Hanson, associate warden of Shakopee, the only women's facility in the state. "I
don't know if she told the other inmates [that she was going to see the Pumpkins], but it
was certainly a source of inmate speculation."
Keary was arrested at the concert sometime after 12 a.m. on Saturday, when police --
who'd been given photos of the escapee -- spotted her in the crowd at the show.
Though there are guards on duty, the Shakopee facility has neither a fence nor a wall
surrounding it, according to Hanson, who explained that Keary's escape was not the first
one from the facility. An inmate walked away in December of last year, with the previous
escape occurring in 1995.
Although Keary was formerly in the minimum-security, general-population wing of the
facility, Hanson said she has now been moved to the "segregation unit," where she is
kept apart from many of the other inmates and subject to greater supervision.
Dan O'Brien, the assistant to the Minnesota corrections commissioner, said that the 150
police officers covering the Pumpkins concert were all given a photo of Keary, as were
an additional 10 corrections officers who were combing the crowded downtown area
looking for the escaped convict.
Pumpkins publicist Gayle Fine had no comment on the matter, but said that, as far as she
knew, the band was not aware of the incident.
While it is not known whether Keary is an avid fan of the band, those at the correctional
facility say she was acting like any other person her age.
"We don't know if she was a fan of the band or not," Hanson said, "but she's 17 and if
there were 100,000 kids at that concert, I would guess there were a lot of other
17-year-olds there too. I don't know if there was anything she said or did before she left
that tipped people off, but isn't that where you would go if you were a teen-ager and it
was Friday night?"
The Pumpkins, who are in the midst of a charity tour, will next play Toronto, Ontario's
Massey Hall on Monday night (July 20).