DETROIT – A California woman who escaped from a Michigan prison more than 30 years ago and remade her life as a suburban mother pleaded guilty to escape Tuesday after a judge said he would give her probation.
Susan LeFevre, 53, was in court for a routine hearing on the escape charge. But that changed unexpectedly after the offer from Wayne County Circuit Judge Leonard Townsend, defense attorney William Swor said.
"I was glad the judge was willing to inject some rationality into this environment," Swor said. "He said 'Enough is enough."'
"She was crying," Swor said of LeFevre. "She was somewhat surprised and relieved that this could come to an end."
Sentencing is set for Sept. 24. The Wayne County prosecutor's office said it's satisfied with Tuesday's guilty plea. As for a possible sentence of probation, "we will wait to see what happens," spokeswoman Maria Miller said.
However, LeFevre must serve at least 5 1/2 years on the drug charge that led to her original sentence of at least 10 years in prison sentence before getting a chance at parole.
LeFevre was convicted of a heroin charge in Saginaw County but climbed a prison fence in 1976 with help from her grandfather.
LeFevre was arrested last spring, living under the name Marie Walsh in San Diego where she is married with three children. Authorities said they got an anonymous tip and matched LeFevre's fingerprints to California driver's license records.
LeFevre, who was just 19 when arrested, is trying to get her drug sentence thrown out. Swor said she never expected to get 10 years in prison when she agreed to plead guilty in 1974.