Former Lawrence resident Chad Beers told a federal magistrate on Thursday that he intended to plead guilty to a charge that he escaped in August 1994 from an Arkansas jail. Beers made the remark during his arraignment hearing in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith, Ark., said Bill Cromwell, first assistant U.S. attorney in the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith.
"At the time he made the statement, he did not (have an attorney)," Cromwell said. "One was later appointed for him."
Cromwell said Magistrate Beverly Stites took no action on Beers' remark and appointed the federal public defender to represent him. If no plea is entered, Beers' trial will begin Nov. 13. It is expected to last about two days.
At the time of the escape, Beers was awaiting transfer to a federal penitentiary to begin a 14-year sentence for abducting an elderly Clarksville, Ark., man in September 1993.
If convicted on the felony escape charge, Beers could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in a federal penitentiary and fined up to $250,000.
That sentence could be run either concurrently or consecutively with the earlier federal sentence and with a 10-year state prison term Beers received for crimes he committed in Nebraska after his escape. The Nebraska sentence was ordered to be served consecutively with the earlier federal sentence.
Beers is being held in the Washington County Jail in Fayetteville, Ark. The jail has a contract to hold federal prisoners, Cromwell said.