Killer back in Supermax 14 months after escaping But he won't be returning to old cell BALTIMORE COUNTY

January 27, 1993|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Staff Writer

Convicted killer Harold Benjamin Dean, 40, the only successful escapee from Maryland's Supermax penitentiary, returned there yesterday, having been extradited from Columbus, Ohio, and flown home in a Maryland State Police airplane.

Dean, serving life plus 105 years, escaped from the high-security prison Nov. 30, 1991, squeezing through an 8-inch by 22-inch window, evading razor wire and climbing to the prison roof on a rope of tied clothing.

He lived a fugitive's life for 10 months before being arrested Oct. 1 in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. He had been working at a gasoline station.

Dean, a slender man, was wearing a bright orange prison jumpsuit and was manacled hand and foot yesterday as he emerged from the twin-engine Beechcraft turbo-jet, parked at the State Police Aviation Unit's hangar at Martin State Airport.

He arrived about 2:30 p.m. and carried a sheaf of papers in his hand.

Flanked by plainclothes officers, he was marched across the tarmac to uniformed Division of Correction officers.

They patted him down before placing him in a special cage in an unmarked blue van that was then driven back to Baltimore.

Reporters were kept at a distance and had no opportunity to question the returning felon.

After returning to Supermax on East Madison Street in downtown Baltimore, Dean was placed in a segregation cell, said State Police Cpl. Scott McCauley, a DOC spokesman.

He will not be housed in the cell from which he escaped, corrections officials said.

Dean is serving time for the 1981 robbery of a Baltimore Montgomery Ward store, in which an armored car guard was critically wounded and a tow-truck driver was killed.

He also was convicted of four counts each of armed robbery and assault with intent to kill.

Despite his current sentence, Dean will be charged with the escape, said Corporal McCauley.

"We can't allow anyone to escape and not pay the consequences," said Corporal McCauley.

"That sends out a message to the inmates."

His arrest last May for a minor charge in Pennsylvania began the end of Dean's odyssey of freedom.

At that time, he told Pennsylvania police that his name was Edward R. Ratliff, and he gave a Reynoldsburg address.

He was released before the FBI processed his fingerprints.

The FBI later matched the Ratliff-Dean prints, and a Reynoldsburg police officer identified Dean's photograph as that of the man who said he was Ratliff. Dean was arrested without incident.

TC After the escape from Supermax, four of Dean's relatives, including his common-law wife, were indicted on charges of helping him. The charges were dropped after his capture.

Dean, who used a rope of knotted sheets to escape from the Maryland Penitentiary in 1985, is the second notorious fugitive returned to Supermax in the last week.

Last week Dontay Carter, 19, a convicted killer and kidnapper, outwitted Division of Correction guards and escaped through a judge's bathroom window at the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse.

After a massive, areawide manhunt, police found Carter the next day, hiding behind a bed in a Northeast Baltimore apartment.

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