CUMBERLAND -- An Allegany County District Court judge set bond at $500,000 each yesterday for Sandra Kay Beeman, the former Allegany County Jail guard charged with helping two inmates escape, and Edgar Eugene Kerns, one of the escapers.
Mrs. Beeman, 46, appeared in shackles before Judge Paul J. Stakem for her bond hearing. Deputy State's Attorney Barry Levine asked that no bond be set but that if the judge did set one, "that it be a substantial amount."
In setting Mrs. Beeman's bond, Judge Stakem said that although she has no criminal record, "the most important factor is the nature of the offense."
Mrs. Beeman is charged with aiding in the escape of Kerns, 30, and James Vernon Barnes, 35, on Aug. 29. Barnes was captured four days later in Hampshire County, W.Va.
Kerns and Mrs. Beeman were fugitives until Oct. 18, when Canadian police captured them at a motel in Hamilton, Ontario, after the managers of another motel where they had stayed saw their pictures on the TV program "Unsolved Mysteries."
Mrs. Beeman also is charged with conspiracy to escape, delivering contraband -- two hacksaw blades -- for use in an escape, and conspiracy to deliver contraband. If convicted of those felonies, she could be sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Bond for Kerns was set at $500,000 during a separate hearing before Judge Stakem yesterday. Kerns is charged with escape, assault and battery, receiving contraband, conspiracy to escape and conspiracy to receive contraband and could be sentenced to 30 years.
Kerns was returned to the Allegany County Jail. He is scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow for forgery, theft and eluding police, crimes for which he was awaiting sentencing when he escaped.
Mrs. Beeman said "No, sir" when Judge Stakem asked whether she had anything to say at the hearing.
She gave her address as Gerrardstown, W.Va., the same as Kerns, although she had lived in a mobile home in Frostburg before the escapes. When asked whether she had any ties to Maryland, she mentioned a son in Cresaptown and a daughter in Mount Savage. No relatives attended the hearing.
Mrs. Beeman was being held at the Garrett County Jail last night "because we don't want to make an uneasy situation here for her [former] co-workers," Allegany County Undersheriff Gary Simpson said.
She had worked in the Allegany County Sheriff's Department for 10 years.