Durant (Okla.) Daily Democrat, Monday, May 22, 1978

Alabama Officers Seek 2 Oklahoma Fugitives

Duo Wanted For Assault On Lawmen
BUTLER, Ala. (UPI) - Another state trooper tactical squad joined the search Sunday for two Oklahoma fugitives wanted in last week's shooting of a Butler city policeman and the assault on a state trooper.

The suspects were identified as Claude Eugene Dennis, 35, and Michael Lancaster, 25, who are also wanted for the slaying of a Texas bait shop owner found shot to death May 10.

Dennis, serving 50 years for first-degree manslaughter, and Lancaster, serving 25 years for armed robbery, escaped from the Oklahoma State penitentiary in McAlester April 23.

The bullet-riddled body of Bobby Lee Spencer, 29 was found on the floor of his bait shop near Denison, Texas.

Spencer's wife, Loretta, 22, was abducted by the fugitives but managed to escape.

More than 100 law enforcement officers searched the woods of two south Alabama counties for the pair.

The two suspects, whom authorities refused to identify, are also sought for the assault on a state trooper last week and are wanted for questioning in several deaths in other states.

Trooper Lt. Roy Smith said in addition to the third tactical squad, a helicopter and Board of Corrections tracking dogs were used in the woods of Choctaw and Sumter counties. Roadblocks have been set up as well.

The discovery earlier Sunday of a second stolen car, a Mercury, near Butler prompted officers to step up the search. About 50 state troopers and an equal number city and county officers were involved in the search.

"They are either on foot or they've got another car," Smith said. "If a car is stolen, we'll hear about it."

The search began Friday night with the discovery of a stolen car used by the suspects in the shotgun wounding Tuesday of Butler city policeman Dean Robert's. Officers have been warned that the men are probably heavily armed.

Authorities have refused to elaborate on the details of the deaths of which the two men are suspected.

On Wednesday of last week, trooper John Christenberry stopped a Mercury in Sumter County that was reported stolen earlier in the day. The driver opened fire with a shotgun, but Christenberry escaped injury.

However, his patrol car was disabled by the shotgun blast.