Convicted killer captured after Michigan prison escape charged with kidnapping, other crimes

The Associated Press

This Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 image provided by the LaPorte County Sheriff's office shows escaped prisoner Michael David Elliot. Elliot, a convicted killer who peeled a hole in two fences with his hands to escape from the Ionia Correctional Facility in western Michigan before abducting a woman and fleeing to Indiana was captured Monday evening after a chase, authorities said. (AP Photo/LaPorte County Sheriff's Office)

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IONIA, Mich. (AP) — A convicted killer captured in Indiana after a daring one-day escape from a Michigan prison told a judge Tuesday that he would resist extradition to his home state, a prosecutor said.

Michael David Elliot was returned to the LaPorte County, Ind., jail on a $1 million bond after being arraigned on a charge of auto theft. He was arrested Monday in a stolen vehicle, about 24 hours after escaping through two fences at the Ionia Correctional Facility in western Michigan.

Elliot, 40, is charged with carjacking, kidnapping and escape in Michigan. He declined to waive extradition, and officials now have 30 days to formally request that Indiana and a judge send him back, LaPorte County Prosecutor Robert Szilagyi said.

"All we have to show is that it's correct, that he's the person in question, and then they can extradite him back to Michigan," Szilagyi told The Associated Press. "We're anticipating they're going to do it pretty fast."

Craig Braje was appointed to serve as Elliot's attorney in Indiana. A message seeking comment was left at his office.

After serving 20 years of a no-parole life sentence, Elliot broke out of prison Sunday night, using his hands to get through two fences while wearing a white kitchen uniform that may have helped him blend with the snow, authorities said.

Elliot, armed with a box cutter, is accused of stealing a Jeep with a woman inside. She escaped when they stopped for gas in Elkhart County, Ind., more than 100 miles away. The Jeep was later found abandoned in nearby Shipshewana, Ind. By evening, Elliot was captured in another stolen vehicle in LaPorte County.

Authorities are now left to sort out exactly how Elliot was able to get out of the Michigan prison. Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan said the inmate somehow made holes in two fences with his hands. The fences were equipped with motion sensors to alert guards. The fences also carry electric current to shock anyone who touches them.

The woman whom Elliot abducted was able to call 911 from a concealed cellphone while Elliot was pumping gas at the store near Middlebury, Ind. The woman calmly told the dispatcher her location and says she has been abducted.

"I'm hostage to an escaped convict from Ionia Correctional Facility in Ionia, Mich.," the woman says, according to a recording of the 911 call.

On the dispatcher's advice, she ran to a restroom and locked herself in. Elliot knocked on the door, but the woman stayed inside until police arrived.

Authorities then launched a door-to-door hunt of the area, but didn't track Elliot down until hours later after getting a report of a car stolen from a factory in the city of LaPorte, said sheriff's Maj. John Boyd. A deputy who happened to be nearby spotted the Chevrolet Monte Carlo "within a few seconds," he said.

Elliot tried to run but he was arrested and taken to jail, where he was being held without bond, Boyd said.

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, according to court records. Elliot and his accomplices were trying to steal money from a drug dealer, police said.

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