Fugitive Mom 'Uncomfortable,' Wants Out of Prison

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A California woman who escaped from a Michigan prison more than 30 years ago and remade her life as a suburban mother of three is "extremely uncomfortable" back behind bars and wants to move the case through the courts as quickly as possible, her attorney said Monday.

Susan LeFevre, 53, skipped her right to a preliminary examination, which will send her case to trial in Wayne County Circuit Court weeks earlier than anticipated.

In 1976, with the help of her grandfather, LeFevre climbed over a barbed-wire fence at a state prison after serving a year of a 10- to 20-year sentence for selling heroin. In April, she was arrested outside her home in an affluent area of San Diego.

LeFevre is back in Michigan serving at least 5½ years on the drug charge before a chance at parole. But she also faces a separate escape charge. Defense attorney William Swor said he plans to fight it vigorously, although he declined to elaborate.

LeFevre has not been physically threatened, he said, but everyone knows her background at Scott Correctional Facility in Plymouth.

"She's extremely uncomfortable. ... She's been reminded she's the suburban" mom, Swor told reporters. "There are staff that are extraordinarily kind. There are staff that are singling her out for special attention.

"There's nowhere she can go to be alone. There's nowhere she can go to get peace," the attorney said.

Spokesman John Cordell of the Michigan Department of Corrections said LeFevre can seek a higher level of security.

"We feel she's well-managed. We haven't heard about any outward threats by other prisoners. ... We train our staff to treat all our prisoners equally," Cordell said.

Separately, Swor is trying to get LeFevre's drug sentence thrown out in Saginaw County Circuit Court. He said she never expected to get 10 years in prison when she agreed to plead guilty in 1974. LeFevre was 19 when she was arrested.

"It was cookie-cutter sentencing" with no regard to the details of each case, Swor said.