Inmate Who Escaped From Mich. Prison Fights Return
LAPORTE, Ind. (WWJ/AP) – A convicted killer who was captured in Indiana after escaping from a Michigan prison is continuing to fight efforts to return him to Michigan.
LaPorte County Deputy Prosecutor Chris Fronk said Michael David Elliot’s attorney indicated during Friday’s extradition hearing that he’ll file a habeas corpus petition contesting a warrant seeking his return to Michigan.
Fronk said Elliot “is contesting the propriety of his removal back to Michigan.” A LaPorte Circuit Court judge is expected to consider Elliot’s petition on March 13.
Elliot escaped from Michigan’s Ionia Correctional Facility on Feb. 2 and was apprehended over 100 miles away in Indiana the next day.
According to court records, Elliot began his escape at 6 p.m. and was out of the facility by 6:53 p.m. Corrections officers noticed Elliot was missing around 9:15 p.m. during a prisoner count.
“You can clearly see him leaving his housing unit, going to an area that prisoners are not allowed to be in, go down to the fence line and then spend the better part of an hour going through two perimeter fences,” Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said.
The fences are equipped with motion sensors and carry electric current to shock anyone who touches them, but Elliot said he used his hands to loosen and pull back fencing on vehicle gate portions that don’t carry an electric charge. Motion sensors should have triggered an alarm and flashing light in the control center, Marlan said, “but yet they didn’t go off, or he obviously wasn’t detected.”
Elliot said it took at least 30 minutes to escape and another hour to run to the city of Ionia. Once there, Elliot started looking for a running car to steal. Armed with a box cutter and hammer he found along his journey, Elliot admitted that he approached a woman at her vehicle and said “Hey, move over.” Elliot jumped into the back seat of the woman’s red Jeep and told her he just escaped from prison.
The woman drove Elliot to a gas station some 100 miles south near Middlebury in Elkhart County, Ind., where he took her keys and went to change into dry clothes he found inside the Jeep. Meanwhile, the woman, who had a cellphone concealed in her pocket, locked herself in a bathroom and called 911. Elliot realized his luck might be changing, so he got back into the Jeep and started to leave.
“And then as I’m pulling away I seen the cops come,” he said.
Elliot drove the Jeep to nearby Shipshewana, where he abandoned the vehicle. He then went to a factory in La Porte where he stole another vehicle. After being notified of the stolen vehicle, a deputy on duty saw Elliot “within a few seconds” and initiated a traffic stop. Elliot tried to run, but he was eventually captured and taken back to the La Porte County Jail.
Elliot refused to waive an extradition hearing on Feb. 4 that would have allowed his immediate return to Michigan. He’s currently being held in Indiana on a $1 million bond.
Elliot was serving life in prison without parole for fatally shooting four people and burning down their Gladwin County house in 1993 when he was 20-years-old. He and his accomplices were trying to steal money from a drug dealer at the time, police said.
TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.