The Florida Department of Corrections, Fugitive Absconder Unit and Lt. Paul Henry of the Florida Highway Patrol Bureau of Investigations have located and recaptured a 1994 parolee originally serving prison time for the murder of a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper and Canadian Constable. Walter Norman Rhodes, Jr. was arrested last night at his residence in Oakgnogon County, Washington.
On February 20, 1976, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Phillip Black was on patrol in the Palm Beach County area with Canadian Officer Donald Irwin riding with him. At approximately 7:00 in the morning, Black approached a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro at a rest area near the Deerfield Beach line. Inside the parked Camaro were Walter Norman Rhodes, Jr., Jessie Tafero, Sonia Jacobs and two small children. Trooper Black and Constable Irwin were tragically shot and killed by the suspects.
All three suspects were arrested and sentenced as a result of the shooting. Tafero was sentenced to death and executed on 5/4/1990. Jacobs' death sentence was overturned on appeal and she was released from prison in 1992. Rhodes was paroled from prison in 1994 and absconded after his release. He will be extradited to Florida for a hearing on his parole violation.
The Fugitive Absconder Unit has been in place since February 2000 and has cleared more than 10,000 warrants.