Archive for Thursday, August 3, 2006

Prison escape charges filed against convicted murderer

Volunteer had smuggled inmate out in dog crate

August 3, 2006

A preliminary hearing is scheduled next month for the convicted murderer who escaped from Lansing Correctional Facility with the help of a prison volunteer in February.

Deborah Owens, a spokeswoman for the Leavenworth County Attorney's Office, said John Manard's preliminary hearing was set for 10 a.m. Sept. 6 in Leavenworth County District Court.

Manard made his first appearance Friday, July 28, in court on charges of felony aggravated escape from a state correctional facility and trafficking contraband. The preliminary hearing was set in a hearing Wednesday, Aug. 2.

His first appearance came 16 days after his accomplice, former Safe Harbor Prison Dogs program director Toby Young, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for driving Manard out of the prison in a dog crate hidden in the Safe Harbor van. The incident occurred Feb. 12, and continued until Feb. 24, when the two were captured.

The escape and resulting search for the fugitives captivated the region. Initially it wasn't known whether Young, 48, had been taken hostage by Manard, 27, during the escape.

That theory quickly was dismissed as evidence of a planned escape mounted. The two were captured in Tennessee, where they had been holed up at a remote fishing lake.

Young had started the Safe Harbor program in August 2004 and had been a regular visitor to the Lansing prison's maximum-, medium- and minimum-security areas. The program receives dogs from shelters across northeast Kansas and matches them with inmates who feed, groom and socialize the dogs to improve their chances of being placed in a new home.

Manard was the program's star trainer.

Now, Manard is back at Lansing and again serving his life sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and criminal possession of a firearm associated with the carjacking and slaying of a Johnson County man in 1997. Since his capture, he has been in solitary confinement.

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