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Published: Friday, 7/13/2001

Four Lenawee inmates accused of aiding escapee

ADRIAN - Four Lenawee County jail inmates could receive an additional 12 years on their sentences for helping prisoner Jonathan Smith scale a wall to freedom.

Shawn Leon, 18, Shane Rodgers, 17, James Rodriguez, 20, and Corey Sawyer, 20, each was charged yesterday with one count of general conspiracy and one count of aiding a prison escape.

The conspiracy charge has a five-year maximum penalty, and the aiding charge carries a seven-year maximum penalty. All four prisoners are in the Lenawee County jail.

Sheriff Larry Richardson said Smith, 27, escaped from the outdoor recreation area of the jail at 10:50 a.m. June 6. Smith, who is from the area, was in jail on a July 4 arrest for probation violation.

Smith originally served time in a Michigan prison for breaking and entering. He violated probation with a drinking offense. He had not yet been sentenced for the probation violation.

Smith, who shed his orange jumpsuit and fled into a neighboring park, was charged with general conspiracy and escape from prison. Both felony counts carry maximum five-year penalties.

Sheriff Richardson said it is no mistake that aiding an escape carries a stiffer sentence than the actual escape because legislators apparently saw the seriousness of this crime. Since the escape, repairs and other security measures have been implemented in the recreation yard, the sheriff said.

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