Md. killer well guarded in Ohio

October 06, 1992|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

Maryland convicted killer Harold Benjamin Dean refused to waive his right to an extradition hearing in Ohio yesterday, and jail officials there are taking extra steps to make sure he does not escape.

Dean, the only person to escape from Maryland's Supermax prison, appeared in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in Columbus. He spoke only to his public defender.

Dean was captured Thursday in the Columbus suburb of Reynoldsburg -- where he had been working at a gas station -- after being on the run for 10 months.

Through his attorney, he told Common Pleas Judge James O'Grady that he would not agree to return to Maryland voluntarily to face trial for escape charges.

The judge ordered him held on $1 million cash or surety bond at the maximum-security Franklin County Corrections Center. An extradition hearing was set for Nov. 4.

Judge O'Grady said prison and court officials know about the daring escape from Supermax, in which Dean -- a small-framed, thin man -- wriggled out of a narrow-slatted cell window.

Dean was the first and only inmate to flee what had been considered a virtually escape-proof prison. He had been serving a life term plus 105 years for robbing a Montgomery Ward store, critically wounding an armored car guard and killing a tow truck driver who gave chase back in 1981.

In Ohio, Dean is considered a top-priority "escape risk" and is under close watch, said Franklin County Sheriff Lt. Mark Gilbert.

Prison officials wouldn't say what extra security measures were put in place for Dean.

"We've heard he's quite foxy, but this isn't an easy place to get out of," Lieutenant Gilbert said.

Three Franklin County jail inmates have escaped in 20 years, some while being transported to the courthouse, he said.

Lieutenant Gilbert said Dean has said virtually nothing since his arrest. "He's been very quiet. He keeps to himself," the officer said.

Dean's employer at the Ohio gas station described him as a "super employee" and said she was very surprised to learn he was a fugitive.

The $21 million Supermax opened in January 1989.

Dean was one of the first inmates to be moved to the super maximum security prison, which houses 280 of Maryland's most dangerous convicts.

The prison on East Madison Street is adjacent to the Maryland Penitentiary, from which Dean and another inmate escaped in September 1985, using a rope of knotted sheets.

jTC

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