A Florida prison inmate says his escape this week was part of a plan to meet up with a woman for a roadside tryst, according to a jailhouse interview with the FOX affiliate in Orlando.
Michael Howarth, 41, is accused of sneaking away from Lake Correctional Institution on Monday night while working at the prison's water-treatment plant. After a two-day manhunt, he was found walking down a Florida highway about 15 miles from the prison, MyFOXOrlando.com reported.
"I planned on eventually setting up a rendezvous. The run up to highway 27 takes 10 minutes. Spend about 25 minutes with a girl. Come back," he told the TV station.
Monday's escape was just a dry run for an actual meet-up with a woman, Howarth said, though he apparently didn't yet have a particular woman in mind.
"It seemed pretty simple at the time," he said. "Run up there. Spend about 25 minutes with her. Run back."
Howarth was charged Wednesday with escape and now faces up to an additional 15 years if convicted. He has served 17 years so far for burglary and grand theft and was scheduled for release in 2012, having earned an 8 1/2-year reduction for good behavior, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
"After doing eighteen years in prison and having an additional 8 1/2 years loss for gain time, I'll have done 26 years. What will be another 15 at that point? I'll have done my life in prison," Howarth told the Sentinel.
Howarth's mother, Pat Murphy, told the Sentinel that she had visited her son last June and he was tired of prison life.
"He had just had enough of being in prison," Murphy told the newspaper. "He said, 'Mom, I'm so tired of being in here.' He's just worn out."