Roger William Mullaly has been working hard all his life to become a career criminal.
His accomplishments include 23 arrests, prison sentences totaling 35 years in Florida and Georgia and an escape from a Georgia prison work camp.
During that time, Mullaly has shown an increasing trend toward violence and the repeated aptitude to resume his crime binges as soon as he completes his most recent incarceration.
Records show that Mullaly's first recorded brush with the law was an arrest by the Duval County Sheriff's Office in 1961 for leaving the scene of a traffic accident. He was 18 years old. His most recent was the alleged armed robbery and gun battle with Citrus County law officers. He is 52.
In between, reports from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Corrections show, Mullaly has been arrested nearly every year of his adult life since that 1961 bust. The accusations: burglary, prowling, indecent exposure, drugs and weapons charges and armed robbery.
During the years when he was not arrested, Mullaly either was in prison or battling cancer, records and interviews showed.
When a career criminal like Mullaly strikes again, the public reaction is predictable. Inverness resident Henry Orysiek, a retired 22-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, might have summed it up best.
"What does it take?" Orysiek asked when he called the Citrus Times last week to express his outrage. "At some point, the rights for society to be protected have to be taken into consideration."
Aside from the life of crime Mullaly has led, there is another interesting chapter in his life. While behind bars, he apparently found religion and joined the Wings of the Dove Prison Ministry.
Mullaly became an ordained minister, referring to himself as the Rev. Roger Mullaly during a 1989 interview with United Press International. He met his wife, Beatrice Mullaly, through the ministry.
In 1989, Mullaly wrote letters to a condemned Florida man, apparently counseling him as he made preparations for his death.
The Wings of the Dove operated out of a mailing address of 316 N Osceola St., Inverness, from 1982 to 1992. The ministry was administratively dissolved when the Mullalys failed to renew their corporate charter with the state.
Mrs. Mullaly said she still performs prison ministry work, but would not say where, for fear that she might be forced out of her vocation.
Being a man of God apparently did little to deter Mullaly from committing more crimes.
During the 10 years the prison ministry was active, Mullaly finished serving 10 years of a 20-year prison sentence. He was arrested five times before the ministry was dissolved in 1992. He was sent back to prison after committing an armed robbery in 1991 at a Pasco County bank.
Mullaly's first prison sentence was in Georgia in 1964, according to Georgia Department of Corrections records. He escaped from the Louwnds Correctional Institute in Valdosta, Ga., on April 23, 1965. The very next day, FDLE records show, Mullaly was arrested by the Duval County Sheriff's Office on a vagrancy charge. Why his status as a fugitive was not discovered that day remains a mystery.
After his escape, Mullaly remained a free man for about a year. In May 1965, he was sentenced to a four-year prison term in Florida on a burglary conviction. He was released and then was arrested in 1970 in Duval County _ twice for robbery, and several times for drugs and weapons offenses, state records showed.
In 1974, he was sent to prison again _ for 20 years. The charge was robbery and violating his probation. Mullaly served about 10 years and was released in June 1985, the Department of Corrections reported.
Four months later, the arrests began again: charges of trespassing, disorderly intoxication and, finally, being a fugitive from justice in Georgia. He remained a fugitive until October 1985, when he was arrested and returned to Georgia and forced to finish his jail term, which ended in February 1986 when he was paroled.
Mullaly was not arrested again until 1991, when the Crystal River Police Department accused him of loitering and possession of burglary tools, state records showed.
One reason for his apparent lapse might be that he became ill with cancer. Mrs. Mullaly said her husband underwent extensive surgery in 1989.
In 1991, Mullaly resorted to crime again, pulling the bank job in Pasco County. His wife's explanation: "He became desperate for money and did something very stupid."
The sentence that time was six years. He was paroled on Dec. 1, 1995, and remained a free man until Tuesday.
His parole officer, Michael Handley, said Mullaly was in compliance with all of the terms of his probations _ until his arrest.
"After 37 years in law enforcement, nothing surprises me anymore."