SAN DIEGO — A 60-year-old woman accused of escaping from a Michigan prison 37 years ago is fighting her extradition to the state.
Defense attorney Lisa Damiani identified her client as Jamie Lewis and told the court Thursday she is not affirming that she is Judy Lynn Hayman.
“We are not prepared to admit identity,” Damiani told the judge.
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The woman, with her long gray hair pulled back in a ponytail, stood before the judge and did not turn around during her brief court appearance. Her clean-cut, 32-year-old son attended the hearing but declined to speak to reporters, following Damiani’s instructions. Police say the son was stunned when they showed up Monday and arrested the woman at her San Diego apartment.
Michigan authorities say Hayman escaped from a prison in Ypsilanti, about 35 miles west of Detroit, in 1977 after serving eight months of an 18- to 24-month sentence. She was in prison for attempting to steal sweaters and other women’s clothing from a Detroit-area store.
San Diego police say Hayman identified herself as Jamie Lewis and produced government documents with that name when they went to her apartment after the FBI reported finding fingerprint matches at various police agencies for Hayman but under different names.
Officers said her eyes resembled those of Hayman in an old Michigan mug shot they were holding.
Damiani told reporters outside the courtroom Thursday that her client will plead not guilty to being a fugitive when she is arraigned Friday. An identity hearing will be held 10 days after that, and the suspect will remain in custody until then.
“We are planning on having an identity hearing and setting a court date for that to look into this and see whether this is a legal extradition,” Damiani said.
San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer said the suspect acknowledged being Hayman after police took her in.
Michigan authorities want her returned to the state to complete her sentence for attempted larceny. She also could face a separate criminal charge for the escape.
Lt. Charles Levens of the Michigan Corrections Department said he was stuck at his desk because of bad weather when he sent the fingerprint cards to the FBI. Many police agencies had fingerprints that matched Hayman’s but under different names. Levens said he gave the information to one of his investigators, who tracked Hayman to San Diego.
Hayman, using aliases, apparently had been arrested and fingerprinted in the past, and San Diego police “were familiar with her,” Michigan corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said.
Mayer declined to give further details about the case, including whether Hayman had prior arrests or contact with police in California.
Neighbors said Hayman kept to herself and didn’t appear to be married or have a job.
Theresa Padilla said she lived next door to Hayman for more than six years and described her as a “quiet loner but basically a nice person.”
Hayman had three sons, and they “seemed like they were raised well,” Padilla said.
If she is extradited, it will be up to the Michigan Parole Board to determine how long she’ll be imprisoned.