After decades of criminal behavior, the man known as the Peanut Butter Bandit is moving back to Tolland.
On Thursday, Frederick R. Merrill, 66, a man with a violent criminal history and one who escaped from prison on several occasions, will move into his sister’s house at 528 Merrow Road. Since his release from the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institute in Suffield on Oct. 5, 2012, Merrill has been residing at The Eddy Center in Middletown, a residential treatment facility.
“He has been cooperating and meeting his obligations, otherwise he wouldn’t go forward from Middletown,” Department of Correction spokesman Andrius Banevicius said earlier this week.
If Merrill does not continue to meet the conditions of his parole, the state has the ability to take him back to prison, Banevicius said.
Over the course of his criminal career, Merrill committed several violent sexual assaults, burglaries, kidnapping, assaults on police officers and burglaries in Tolland, South Windsor and Enfield, according to the DOC. For the first two decades, from 1967-87, Merrill escaped from Connecticut and Canadian prisons, only to be captured again and charged with additional offenses according to the DOC and the Hartford Courant.
In one infamous incident, Merrill escaped prison after his mother smuggled a handgun into the jail in a jar of peanut butter, according to the Hartford Courant, thus earning him the nickname the Peanut Butter Bandit.
Since his re-imprisonment in 2003, when he was sentenced to 20-years in prison for crimes related to a first-degree sexual assault in South Windsor and two burglaries in Enfield in 1987, Merrill has not escaped from the MacDougall-Walker Correctional, where he was being held.
While living in Tolland, Merrill will be monitored by a specialized unit of the parole division that is specifically trained to manage sexual offenders, Banevicius said.
Although he would not discussion the specific requirements of Merrill’s parole because of privacy and security issues, Banevicius said, in general, sexual offenders are often compelled to undergo special medical treatment.
Merrill will be required to check-in with his parole officers once a week, register as a sexual offender and will be under GPS surveillance 24/7, Banevicius said. Because of his criminal past, Merrill will first be taken to Troop C in Tolland to meet with local troopers before being taken to his sister’s house on Merrow Road.
that in addition to standard parole requirements, Merrill might be subject to additional requirements, such as:
- Electronic monitoring
- No contact with victims or family members of victims
- No consumption of alcoholic beverages, random toxicology screenings
- Behavioral management for the treatment of problem sexual behavior
DeFeo also said in July that it would also be unlikey for Merrill to be allowed to live at a residence with young women or children.
DeFeo could not be reached for comment this week.