I recently re-read Mackle's book, 83 Hours Till Dawn, written with Miami Herald reporter Gene Miller. I’m still amazed at her strength, resiliency, and generous spirit. She went on with her life, married her college sweetheart, had two children and put her ordeal behind her.
Krist is an entirely different matter.
A career criminal from at least age 14, he was an escapee from a California prison when he and Ruth Eisenmann-Schier abducted Mackle. He collected the $ 500,000 ransom and left his girlfriend behind to fend for herself. (Great guy.) Eisenmann-Schier was later captured working as a waitress in Oklahoma. She got seven years while Krist, who was caught shortly after obtaining the money, was sentenced to life imprisonment. In spite of two escape attempts and constant whining about how his cell was too confining (duh!) he was able to attract supporters. Like other celebrity prisoners (Mumia comes to mind), he seemed able to snow people. He even wrote a book about his life and the kidnapping of Mackle. A reviewer wrote: “Krist seems an amiable, likeable young man…When you finish, you almost feel sorry that he must spend the rest of his life in prison.”
In 1976, the Georgia Pardons and Parole Board denied his parole bid and issued a statement: “[Krist] has been a menace to society all his adult life.” But just a few years later the board reversed itself. Stating that he was rehabilitated, Krist was released after serving just ten years. A self-proclaimed genius, he went to Alaska to work on a fishing boat. Later, he attended a medical school in the Carribean and began practicing medicine in a small town in Indiana. But there were problems. Because of his criminal past, Dr. Gary Steven Krist was required to have a supervising physician. But his supervisor didn’t show up at hearings to determine whether to allow him keep his probationary medical license. Krist didn’t show up either, so his license was revoked.
He moved back to Georgia and began working construction. But Dr. Krist still had a “get-rich-quick” temperament. Enlisting his new wife’s son, he made several trips to Colombia. On each occasion, the two brought back cocaine and sold it to Atlanta drug dealers. His scheme ended on March 6, 2006 when he was caught in Mobile, Alabama with a boat full of illegal aliens and drugs. Cops found 38 pounds of cocaine paste, worth two million dollars.
In his home he had a workshop set up to turn the cocaine paste to powder. There was also an escape tunnel leading from his house to a nearby road.
Krist has yet to be sentenced. Maybe this time, he’ll die in prison.