Therapist surrenders in jailbreak

Former psychologist at prison charged with aiding escapees

One convicted of murder

May 26, 1999|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF

A former prison psychologist suspected of helping a convicted murderer and an armed robber escape from a state penitentiary in Jessup last week surrendered to state police in Glen Burnie about 7: 45 p.m. last night.

Police said Elizabeth L. Feil, 43, appeared before an Anne Arundel County District Court commissioner on two counts of being an accessory to escape after the fact; two counts of harboring an escaped inmate; and with obstructing and hindering the investigation into the May 18 escape from the Maryland Correctional Institution -- Jessup.

State police spokesman Pete Piringer said bail was set for Feil -- who surrendered in the company of her attorney, Isaiah Dixon III -- at $5,225. Feil posted bail, according to Piringer, and was released.

Piringer said detectives contacted Dixon yesterday afternoon to say they had a warrant to arrest Feil.

The day after the escape, Feil was interviewed by police and was offered a deal: The Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office, which has jurisdiction over the prison, would grant her limited immunity in exchange for her cooperation.

Piringer accused Feil of provided false and misleading information regarding the escape, thus the obstruction and hindering charge.

Suspicion had surrounded the psychologist -- who grew up in wealth in Philadelphia and attended an Ivy League school -- almost immediately after the escape.

Those suspicions were fanned by Feil's husband, Glenn Bosshard, who told police that his wife was sexually involved with one of the inmates.

Feil is accused of helping convicted robber Byron Smoot, 38, and killer Gregory Lawrence, 39, after they walked past guard towers and scaled a razor-wire fence at the prison. The two were recaptured two days later in Baltimore.

Prison logs showed Feil had made numerous visits to see Smoot, whom she had known for two years, Piringer said.

After the escape, Piringer said yesterday, the two men dialed Feil's pager. The men were picked up in her Subaru automobile and driven to a hotel, where a room had been paid for, he said, adding that blood was found in the car.

Feil, he said, apparently tried to bandage the cuts the men received while scaling the fence.

The charges of aiding the escape stem from an allegation that she picked up the inmates near the prison.

Investigators said last week they were certain Smoot and Lawrence had help because bloodhounds tracking their scents lost the trail at a nearby phone booth in front of a liquor store.

Police say Feil and Smoot rented a room together at a Pulaski Highway motel after the escape.

Letters to Feil

Smoot's letters to Feil in February allude to escape plans, investigators said. In them, he recounts a conversation with dorm mates about how to escape in eight minutes.

"It won't be until spring, this is the real thing honey, there won't be any more delays," writes Smoot. "All I know is that if the nest is ready by then, the eagle will land."

Lawrence was serving a life sentence for murder after shooting a man and stealing his shoes in 1978. Smoot was imprisoned for a rash of armed robberies and was sentenced to 29 years.

Investigators turned up Feil's name from repeated entries in visitor logs and tried unsuccessfully to locate her after the escape.

Mail-order schemes

State police also said that Ms. Feil is accused of cooking up mail-order schemes with Smoot.

Fliers advertising the mail-order scheme were found at her Annapolis home, state police said.

The fliers advertise a company named "St. Byron & Elizabeth Specialty Consulting," and offer "MEGABUCK money making opportunities" and free T-shirts for purchasing a $5 directory of investment possibilities.

Feil was fired from the Patuxent Institution, a maximum-security prison, for setting up a post office box in May 1998 to exchange intimate correspondence with prisoners.

Sun staff writer Devon Spurgeon and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 5/26/99

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