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Woman charged with mailing hacksaw blade to convict

An Ohio woman was charged yesterday with mailing a hacksaw blade inside a box of Christmas snacks to a convicted murderer and rapist from Baltimore County who was sentenced to death for the 1973 mass murder of a prominent Georgia farm family.

Mary Popp, 50, was arrested yesterday at her home in suburban Cincinnati, Georgia Bureau of Investigations spokesman John Bankhead said.

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The inmate, Carl Isaacs, 41, who lived for a time in the Cub Hill section of the county, had already tried twice to escape from Georgia's death row.

In addition to Isaacs, his brother Billy, now 36, half-brother Wayne Coleman, now 47 and George Elder Dungee, now 56, and from Northeast Baltimore, also were convicted of murder and rape.

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At the time of the Georgia murders, all but Billy Isaacs were escapees from the Poplar Hill prison farm near Salisbury, Wicomico County, where Carl Isaacs was serving time for burglary, Coleman for robbery and Dungee for failure to pay child support.

Billy Isaacs joined the trio after they showed at his Cub Hill home shortly after they escaped during the first week of May, 1973.

Last year, Billy Isaacs, a juvenile when convicted, was freed from prison after serving 20 years of a 40-year term.

He testified against the others. Coleman and Dungee, along with Isaacs, remain in prison in Georgia.

The saw blade was sent to Isaacs, who was sentenced to death for his part in killing five male members of the Ned Alday family on May 14, 1973, as they returned to their home after working in their farm field.

The four also were convicted of raping and killing Ned Alday's daughter-in-law, Mary, 25.

At the time of the Alday-family murders, the four were being sought in connection with the murder of a Western Maryland man who stopped them on a road near Flintstone, Allegany County, when he saw them riding in a relative's vehicle they had stolen a few days after the escape from Poplar Hill.

The man's body was eventually found in a shallow grave near Flintstone. The four were never tried for his murder.

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Following the Alday murders, the four headed north and were finally tracked down near War, W. Va.

Georgia authorities said Isaacs admitted persuading the Ohio woman to send him the blade, though he really wanted a jeweler's string, a thin wire of industrial diamonds that will cut through metal.

Guards at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center found a 12-inch blade in a box of snack cakes included in a Christmas package of candy and other sweets mailed to Isaacs from a false address, authorities said.

Ms. Popp, who authorities said had written to Isaacs before, faces up to five years in prison if convicted of providing contraband to an inmate.



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