Archive for Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Federal charges earn prison volunteer more time behind bars

August 29, 2007

— The dog handler who helped a Lansing Correctional Facility inmate escape last year was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison on federal charges.

"I trust your judgment and God's," said Toby Young as she stood with tears in her eyes before U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum moments before he passed sentence.

Young, of Piper, helped convicted murderer John M. Manard escape in February 2006 by hiding him inside a dog crate in a van she used for a dog-training program at the prison. They were captured two weeks later in Tennessee.

Young was sentenced last year to 21 months in state prison after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting aggravated prison escape and introducing contraband into the prison. In March she pleaded guilty to the federal charge of knowingly providing a firearm to a felon.

"I sincerely hope you have learned a lesson from this," Lungstrum told Young. "What you did could have led to far more tragic results."

The federal sentence will run concurrently to the state sentence, and Young will be credited with the time she already has served for the state.

"I just want to say I am truly sorry for my actions," Young said. "I wish I could take them back."

Lungstrum's sentence was longer than Young's federal public defender, Michael Harris, had requested, but it was considerably shorter than the five-year sentence sought by assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead.

Harris asked the judge for a 25-month sentence, which would mean her prison time for both federal and state convictions would be over in November. Now her additional six months will be served in a federal prison.

"She pled guilty and accepted her responsibility," Harris said during a lengthy sentencing hearing.

Morehead argued for a harsher sentence because of the seriousness of the federal charge and the disruption and concern it caused prison and law enforcement authorities. If Manard's case had been handled in federal court he would have faced a mandatory five-year sentence for having a gun, Morehead said.

"I think the fact that the weapon was not used was a miracle," she said.

Lansing Warden David McKune, called by Morehead to testify, said Young and Manard developed an elaborate plan to pull off the escape. McKune also said officers thought there was a high potential for violence if Manard was confronted.

"It is up there in the top among the best plans I've ever seen," McKune said. "Initially our biggest fear was that (Young) had been taken hostage."

After they were captured, Manard and Young violated prison rules by communicating with each other by mail, said Charles Nance, an investigator with the Kansas Department of Corrections, who also testified. The two sent letters to each other by having third parties include them in their envelopes.

Harris argued that Manard and Young wanted the guns for protection because they were took a considerable amount of money with them when they fled to Tennessee. He noted the guns were still in the cabin the couple was staying in when they were arrested outside a shopping center.

In January, Manard pleaded guilty in Leavenworth County District Court to one count of felony escape. In February he was sentenced to an additional 130 months in prison. At the time of the escape he was serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and criminal possession of a firearm for a 1996 carjacking and murder of a Johnson County man.

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