A Carmel Valley mother who fled a Michigan prison 32 years ago and lived on the lam until her arrest this year pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of escape after a judge offered to give her probation.
Susan LeFevre, 53, cried with relief at the judge’s words, said her attorney, William Swor.
“The judge indicated that if she was willing to accept responsibility and plead guilty to the charge that he would make a preliminary commitment to give her probation,” Swor said yesterday from Detroit. “He said ‘Enough is enough.’ ”
Sentencing is set for Sept. 24 in Wayne County, Mich.
“Removing the risk of additional prison time certainly made her feel somewhat better,” Swor said.
LeFevre still is serving a 5½-year sentence for her role in a heroin deal with an undercover state trooper in Saginaw County, Mich., according to court documents.
She was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison in 1975 after pleading guilty to selling drugs. She climbed over the prison’s barbed-wire fence to freedom about a year later with the help of her grandfather.
Using her middle name, Marie, she moved to Southern California, married her husband, Alan Walsh, and raised three children.
A tipster led authorities to her front door in April, and she was booked into Las Colinas Detention Facility in Santee to the disbelief of her friends and family.
The housewife has been in a Detroit-area prison since being transferred in May.
Attorneys in Michigan are fighting for a new sentence on the drug conviction, saying it was an illegal and improper sentence at the time.
“Anybody that looks at her life in California and the work that she’s done, and anyone who looks at the original crime, can see that the original sentence was an injustice,“ Swor said. “Probation is warranted.”
LeFevre said she never would have pleaded guilty to the drug charges had she known the court’s “secret” policy at the time was to sentence all heroin offenders the same – 10 to 20 years.
“She was getting high like everyone else back then,” said Laurie Lewis, who attended high school with LeFevre in Saginaw and now lives in San Diego. “Everyone was getting loaded. It was the ’70s.”