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Idaho outlaw is released from prison

Served 22 years for slaying officers

BOISE, Idaho -- Idaho's most infamous outlaw, Claude Dallas, was released from prison yesterday after serving 22 years for the execution-style slayings of two state officers in 1981.

Dallas, 54, gained notoriety as both a callous criminal and a modern-day mountain man at odds with the government. He was released after his 30-year term was cut by eight years for good behavior.

Dallas walked out of the Idaho Correctional Institution in Orofino at 4:55 a.m., said Teresa Jones, an Idaho Department of Correction spokeswoman. He was picked up by a relative.

''He doesn't want to talk to the media or make a big deal out of his release," said prison warden Kevin Kempf. ''He just wants to go live his life."

He was convicted of manslaughter in 1982 for the shooting deaths of Conley Elms and Bill Pogue, officers for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game who were investigating reports that Dallas was poaching bobcats.

Pogue, who had drawn his own weapon, was hit first with a shot from Dallas's handgun. Dallas then shot Elms two times in the chest before using a rifle to fire one round into each man's head.

The case made national headlines and turned Dallas into an antigovernment folk hero for some -- a reputation heightened by a 1986 jailbreak. Dallas hid for nearly a year before he was caught in Riverside, Calif. He was charged with escape, but was acquitted by a jury after he testified he had to break out because prison guards threatened his life.

State Fish and Game officers, some of whom worked with Pogue and Elms, said they chose to observe yesterday as a date to remember the slayings, which many believe should have gotten Dallas a murder conviction.

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