Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Calvin Lyons


Convicted of armed robbery in Union County, Pennsylvania, in 1980, Calvin Lyons was exonerated four years later after the actual perpetrator, Robert A. Beck, confessed to the crime while in prison for another offense.
 
On August 31, 1979, shortly after closing time at a Chevron service station in Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania, an armed man walked into the store and demanded $2000 from the two attendants on duty. At the time, Calvin Lyons, of Akron, Ohio, was visiting his father in West Virginia. Lyons was arrested and charged with the robbery in Mifflinburg. While awaiting trial, he escaped from the Union County jail with four other men, only to be captured and returned to prison shortly after.
 
In his 1980 jury trial, Lyons was convicted of the robbery and sentenced to five to ten years at the State Correctional Institute in Huntington, Pennsylvania, for both the robbery and the jailbreak.
 
On May 15, 1982, a man named Robert Beck escaped from a state prison outside Phoenix, Arizona, where he was serving a sentence for armed robbery. Beck fled back to his hometown of Meadville, Pennsylvania. About a year after his return, on September 24, 1983, Beck was arrested for threatening his former girlfriend and her boyfriend with a firearm. Beck was incarcerated at the Crawford County Jail. While he was there, Beck “found God” and confessed to robbing a Mifflinburg Chevron station in 1979, where he was formerly employed.
 
Upon learning of Beck’s confession, Lyons petitioned for a retrial. On March 27, 1984, Beck’s confession was heard in court and the motion for a new trial was granted. Union County District Attorney Graham Showalter later dropped all charges. However, as a result of his jailbreak sentence, Lyons was not immediately released. When asked about the case and Beck’s involvement, Showalter told newspapers, “It’s a shame he didn't tell the truth years ago.”
 
 – Researched by Obi Nwachukwu
State:PA
County:Union
Most Serious Crime:Robbery
Reported Crime Date:1979
Convicted:1980
Exonerated:1984
Sentence:5 to 10 years
Race:Don't Know
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:25
Contributing Factors: