Prison escapee appears in court
Convicted murderer John Manard and his attorney appeared in Leavenworth County District Court on Friday, Nov. 17, on charges related to Manard's escape from the Lansing Correctional Facility in February.
Manard is scheduled to appear again before Judge Frederick Stewart at 3 p.m. Dec. 6.
Deborah Owens, a spokeswoman for the County Attorney's Office, said Manard was expected to enter a plea when he appears in court Dec. 6.
Manard is charged with felony aggravated escape and trafficking in contraband after his escape from the prison on Feb. 12 with the help of Toby Young, then director of the Safe Harbor Prison Dogs program.
A preliminary hearing had been scheduled for Nov. 8, but it was continued because Manard's court-appointed attorney, Terence A. Lober, could not attend the hearing because of an emergency.
Before the Nov. 8 preliminary hearing was continued, Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl had said he had expected Manard would enter a plea and the hearing would not take place.
After the appearance Friday, Lober wouldn't comment on the likelihood of a plea deal.
"There have been negotiations : " Lober said. "There will be a decision on the sixth of December as to go forward with the preliminary hearing, or we will waive it."
Manard hid in a dog crate in the back of a Safe Harbor van, which Young drove away from the prison to make the escape.
They were captured 12 days later in Tennessee. Young was sentenced to 21 months in prison after she pleaded guilty for her role in the escape.
Manard is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and criminal possession of a firearm associated with the carjacking and murder of a Johnson County man in 1996.
He also faces federal weapons crime charges related to the escape.
For more on the story, check the Nov. 22 edition of The Current.