Archive for Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Fugitives captured in Tennessee

March 1, 2006

The prison volunteer accused of helping a convicted killer escape from Lansing Correctional Facility said in a jailhouse interview she was sorry for what she did to her family, friends and the Safe Harbor Prison Dog program.

"I know I have a lot of friends back in Kansas. I'll go home and see what we can do to fix this the best I can," Toby Young told Kansas City's KCTV in an interview from the McMinn County, Tenn., jail, where she is being held awaiting her return to Kansas.

Young, 48, and 27-year-old convicted killer John M. Manard were captured Friday in eastern Tennessee after a 12-day manhunt. U.S. marshals spotted the two outside a shopping mall in Chattanooga, Tenn., and captured them Friday evening after a chase on Interstate 75.

Authorities believe Manard, 27, was spirited out of the prison Feb. 12 in the Safe Harbor van driven by Young after a dog crate containing Manard was loaded into the van by seven other inmates in the program. Safe Harbor, which has operated at the prison since August 2004, receives dogs from shelters and matches them with inmates who feed, groom and socialize the animals to improve their chances of being placed in new homes.

In the TV interview, Young apologized to her father, said she still hadn't talked to her husband and urged that the Safe Harbor program at the prison continue.

"I love my dad a lot," Young said when told of the worry expressed by her father, Don Phelan, shortly after the escape. "He's one of the most important people in my life, and I'm sorry I let him down and I miss him and I'm coming home as soon as I can."

As for Young's husband, Pat, a firefighter, she said, "This whole thing is just a mess. I need to call him. I just need to call him and talk to him."

Young said nothing during the interview about her relationship with Manard or what led to her presumed involvement in the escape.

"I don't want to talk about that now," she said.

Of the program, Young said she hoped someone would step in to keep it alive.

Both Young and Manard waived extradition during separate hearings Monday in Tennessee. Manard remained in custody Tuesday at Hamilton County Jail in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Young remained in custody Tuesday in McMinn County Jail in Athens, Tenn.

Remote cabin

In their two weeks as fugitives, the two accumulated electronics, musical instruments and a parakeet while hiding out in a vacation cabin in Alpine, Tenn., near Dale Hollow Lake. Items found inside the cabin included cash, a laptop computer, a new printer, jigsaw puzzles, books, a PlayStation, an adult DVD, two new guitars, an amplifier, a mandolin and sheet music to the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" -- the tale of escaped convicts on the run in the South during the Great Depression.

The two also left behind unspecified "sexual items," Deputy U.S. Marshal Danny Shelton said.

Shelton said investigators found loaded handguns at the cabin.

Manard rented the cabin at the East Port Marina & Resort under the name "Mark West," according to the marina's owners, Clyde and Vickie Craig.

"He told my wife that he wanted privacy, and we were just abiding by his wishes," Clyde Craig said.

The Craigs said a man called and reserved the cabin in early February. On Feb. 8, the marina received a money order to reserve the cabin, which rents for $900 a month.

"West" called on the night of Feb. 12 to say he was near St. Louis and would be arriving late, and the couple pulled into the marina between 3 and 4 a.m. on Feb. 13, Vickie Craig said.

"I didn't bother them the first day. They had their blinds closed," she said.

Last week, "West" called and asked to reserve the cabin for another week.

The Craigs said they were shocked when they learned of the couple's arrest.

"None of us had any clue that there was anyone on the run," Vickie Craig said.

Capture

Young and Manard were captured after an interstate highway chase late Friday that ended near Athens. The chase began after officers spotted the pair outside a Chattanooga mall more than 90 miles south of their cabin.

Manard had been serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and possession of firearms in the 1996 killing of an Overland Park man during a carjacking.

After the arrest, he told authorities Young was a hostage but evidence indicated otherwise, Deputy U.S. Marshal Ray Stewart said at a news conference Saturday.

Return awaited

Thus far, Young and Manard face charges in Kansas related to the escape. A Leavenworth County warrant charging Young with aiding and abetting aggravated escape and aiding a felon was issued Feb. 13. Manard faces escape charges in Leavenworth County.

James Cross, a spokesman for Eric Melgren, U.S. attorney for Kansas, said Monday afternoon it didn't appear likely at this time that Young and Manard would face federal charges related to the escape.

Bill Miskell, a Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman, would not say when Young and Manard would be brought back to Kansas, adding it was standard procedure not to release prisoner transportation details.

"Once we do get them back to Kansas, we will certainly let everybody know," he said.

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