Woman charged in prison escape loses motions to dismiss case, move trial

October 28, 1999|By Devon Spurgeon | Devon Spurgeon,SUN STAFF

The case of Elizabeth Feil, the prison psychologist accused of helping her lover escape from state prison in May, made its way yesterday to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, where a judge denied a motion to dismiss it. The court also refused a motion to move the trial.

Feil's attorney, Isaiah Dixon III, first asked the court to move the case to Baltimore because of the "feeding frenzy" of media coverage, the "low point" being the airing of pictures of his client in a black negligee on WBAL-TV.

"It will be impossible for jurors to divorce themselves from what they have heard so far," said Dixon. "No escape case in the history of Anne Arundel County or the state has generated this much publicity."

Despite the extensive coverage by television and news agencies in the Baltimore area, Dixon asked the judge to move the case to Baltimore.

"Doesn't that fly in the face of what you just told me?" asked Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner. The judge denied the motion.

Feil, 45, is charged with 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 escape May 18 from the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup.

Police charged that Feil helped her boyfriend, convicted robber Byron Smoot, 38, and convicted killer Gregory Lawrence, 39, escape. The two were recaptured two days later in Baltimore.

Dixon asked Lerner to dismiss the case against Feil because she had secured an immunity agreement with the Anne Arundel County state's attorney. Troopers testified Feil violated the agreement.

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