"'I don't know what we're going to gain for the money,' said Robert Brown Jr., who was director of the Michigan Department of Corrections 1984-91 and spent 30 years with the department. 'Why should we spend the money to bring her back here, interrupt her life? She violated the law and violated the law again by running off. But we aren't going to gain anything by bringing her back. How much pound of flesh do we want? What did we expect when we sent her to prison? Did we get that? Something turned her around and thank God, that's it.'
Brown is now a nationally recognized consultant on corrections issues. He said Lefevre has lived a productive life since leaving Michigan and that justice would not likely be served by trying to punish her more.
Eaton County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sauter, a former president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, said he wouldn't want this case to be resolved in a way that would foster the notion that it's all right for someone to walk away from prison and nothing will be done about it as long as they manage to stay within the law.
'It emphasizes the two extremes,' Sauter said of the woman's situation. 'It appears she did turn her life around, but we also have to have respect for law and order. I think the judge who sentences her is going to take those things into consideration.'" *
"Lefevre is the second person from Michigan arrested in California this year after having escaped from prison more than 30 years ago, said state Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan.
Roger Crona, 61, was arrested Feb. 28 after having been on the lam for nearly 36 years. Crona was convicted in 1971 of forging the registration on a stolen car. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 4 years in prison but escaped from a Jackson prison on June 20, 1972, Marlan said.
He is in the Santa Barbara County Jail and is fighting extradition, Marlan said."
Linda Darby, Convicted Killer Caught 35 Years After Prison Escape.
Roberto Negron Diaz Caught 20 Years After Fleeing Prison; Had Been Incarcerated for Receiving Stolen Property and DUI.
Maximo Jurado Arrested 28 Years After Prison Escape; Originally Sentenced for Drug Offense.
Ailing 81-Year-Old Fugitive Nabbed 43 Years After Prison Escape.
Accused Drug Smuggler Jerome J. Wedge Caught 20 Years Later.
“The judge showed sympathy but little mercy as he doled out his sentence to the 20-year-old woman standing in his courtroom. ‘I just hope you do change your own life,’ Judge Joseph R. McDonald told Susan LeFevre, according to transcripts of the Feb. 7, 1975, hearing in Saginaw, Mich. ‘You're a young woman and you can live this down, but you're going to have to pay the penalty.’
…Since her arrest last week, dueling images have emerged of the woman she was three decades ago.
The Michigan Department of Corrections has painted her as the teenage leader of a drug ring who earned $2,000 a week overseeing heroin deliveries.
LeFevre, on the other hand, said she was a student earning minimum wage. She dabbled in the drug scene, buying and selling here and there, she said, but no more than other young rebels experimenting across the nation.
According to court records and people close to the case, the truth appears to fall somewhere in between.
‘Sure, she was buying from someone else. She did make some sales. But she wasn't targeted as a major player,’ E. Brady Denton, Saginaw County's prosecutor in charge during the 1970s, said yesterday.
In interviews during the past week, LeFevre has downplayed her role in the heroin deal that led to her arrest. But 34 years ago, she stood in McDonald's courtroom and detailed the exchange, which she admitted arranging.
LeFevre said she was at her apartment Feb. 20, 1974, when the phone rang. The man on the other end, known only as Mark from Jackson, told her he wanted to make a deal.
Five spoons of heroin, 10 o'clock, in the parking lot of Luigi's pizzeria.
A few hours later, LeFevre, then 19, and friend Richie Anderson grabbed about 3 grams of heroin and headed out to make some money.
There was only one other car in the parking lot, and Anderson got out to make the deal with the skinny, long-haired hippie inside.
Time ticked on. An impatient LeFevre got out and approached the men at the other car. ‘What's taking so long?’ she asked. With the transaction finally complete, Anderson pocketed the $250 to $300 and he and LeFevre went into the pizzeria for a drink.
They weren't inside long when the restaurant was raided by a wave of police officers. The duo were handcuffed, searched and sent to jail. The blond hippie turned out to be Michael Robinson, a state trooper on a regional drug task force.
LeFevre, who had never been arrested or charged with a felony before, spent one night behind bars before an older couple posted her $3,000 bond. Their connection to her remains unclear.
LeFevre was appointed a public defender and pleaded not guilty to charges of delivering a controlled substance and conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance.
For months, she was allowed to attend classes at Lansing Community College, where she says she immersed herself in a new crowd and left her druggie friends behind.
Then, in October 1974, on the day her jury trial was to begin, she changed her plea to guilty. ‘It would be better for myself this way because there's too much evidence, to, you know, to plead innocent,’ she told the judge, according to the transcripts. ‘In case (the jury's verdict) didn't go the right way, I'd get a lot more than I'd ever get now. I'd get ten years, it just would be ten years for sure.’
At her sentencing the following February, she asked for leniency and tried to convince the judge that she'd removed the bad influences from her life.
‘I haven't seen anyone at all. I have hardly come back to Saginaw at all,’ she said.
‘I don't think any jail would help me, or help me when I get out or anything, because this was just hard enough, getting away from the (drug) associates, and I just finally have.’
But McDonald said he wasn't going to treat her any different from the many other drug dealers who had moved through his courtroom, including Anderson, who had received the same sentence.
‘This is a very serious problem in our state and in our country, and it's caused the whole city to disintegrate, really, around the country. Crime runs rampant because of people committing crimes to buy drugs,’ he said.
‘I've dealt…severely in the past, and I intend to in the future, with anyone convicted of the sale of drugs.’
And so did most other judges in Saginaw at the time, according to former prosecutor Denton.
‘Saginaw had a real heroin problem at that time. Heroin was coming from Mexico to south Texas to Saginaw – they called it Mexican brown,’ Denton said. ‘People were killing each other over it.’
When homicides in the city topped 50 a year, the drug task force came to town.
‘There were many other people in her exact same situation who got 10 to 20 years,’ Denton said.
If he were prosecutor today, Denton said, he wouldn't put LeFevre back in prison. Instead, he would allow her to withdraw her plea, have her replead to the same charges, then sentence her under the new Michigan guidelines, which would factor in a prior record, the severity of the crime and what she has done with her life.
‘I'd give her probation and let her go back and be with her family in California.’”
LeFevre and Anderson received the same sentence on the same day...Anderson served two years of a 10- to 20-year sentence for selling heroin, and the parole board let him out in 1977.
A man and wife out for a walk along Banner, near East (M-13), found Anderson's murdered body in a water-filled ditch in September 1981. ... Detectives said someone shot him several times in the head, "execution" style. Police have yet to catch his killer.
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