Clipped From The Californian
Fugitive wants mercy After 32 years on run, convict seeks a pardon By ALLISON HOFFMAN The Associated Press, SANTEE An attorney for Susan LeFevre, a housewife arrested in California 32 years after escaping a Detroit prison, said Thursday he plans to petition Michigan's Democratic governor to commute the nine years remaining on her sentence. LeFevre, who married and raised three grown children in a posh San Diego suburb as Marie Walsh, has agreed to be extradited back to Michigan to face the consequences of her 1975 guilty plea to drug-trafficking charges. She served one year of her 10-to-20 year sentence before climbing over a fence to meet her waiting grandfather in February 1976. Now 53, she was arrested April 24 outside her home and is being held at a women's jail in San Diego County, where she is bound by handcuffs and a plastic bracelet bearing the identity she never revealed to her husband of 23 years. "Nobody is suggesting that she ought to just be able to walk away from this and have everybody forget, but we now have the benefit of perspective," said Paul Denenfeld, LeFevre's lawyer in Grand Rapids, Mich. "By all indications she's been a good wife and mother and a good community person, so we think that presents extraordinary circumstances and we think that calls for governors to respond in kind." Back to Michigan Michigan state corrections officials said LeFevre would return to Michigan within a few weeks and would be responsible for serving out her sentence. Under laws she was sentenced under in the 1970s, she likely would have to serve at least 5 12 years before being eligible for parole in 2013, said Michigan Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marian. "She's not going to do 10 years," Marian said. State officials do not plan to ask prosecutors in Wayne County, where LeFevre fled the Detroit House of Corrections, to pursue escape charges against her, Marian said. AT A GLAHCE Fugitive Susan LeFevre said she hid her status from her husband and children until agents began actively looking for her late last year. Federal officials said an anonymous call tipped them to her name and location in March. LeFevre may forfeit good-time credits she earned during her year in prison because she escaped. LeFevre, who trained as a hospice worker and volunteered for political causes in California, said she had tried to live a model life to atone for her past mistakes. "I've tried to be exceptionally good," she told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday at the Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee. "I wanted to make a life, as Marie, to make a point of being as disciplined as possible." Behavior 'inexcusable' ' She said her behavior as a teenager, despondent over the death of her high school sweetheart in the Vietnam War, was "inexcusable." The second of five children, she was just 19 when she was arrested with a friend during an undercover drug opera- THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Susan Marie Lefevre, now known as Marie Walsh, talks about her 32 years as a fugitive during an interview at the Las Colinas Detention Facility Wednesday in Santee. tion at a pizza parlor outside Sagmaw, Mich., in 1974. Michigan corrections officials said investigators at the time believed she was making several thousand dollars a week selling heroin and knew top drug dealers in the area. LeFevre said she supported herself working full-time at a Kmart after moving out of her parents' house. She said she agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and violation of drug laws to spare her family the embarrassment of a trial and expected to be put on probation. Instead, she was given the maximum sentence of 10 to 20 years.