Leavenworth The corrections officer fired after an inmate escaped from Lansing Correctional Facility in a dog crate said he was a scapegoat in the widely publicized case.
Corrections officials said officer Earl Green was fired because he did not properly search a van driven by Toby Young as she drove away from the prison on Feb. 12.
Prosecutors say murderer John Manard was in a dog crate in the back of the van.
The unusual escape received national attention before Young and Manard were captured nearly two weeks later in Tennessee.
Young, who ran a dog rehabilitation program at the prison, was in court Friday, where a June 2 preliminary hearing was scheduled on felony charges of assisting with Manard's escape.
Green has filed a public appeal to his firing and will get a hearing before the Civil Service Board in Topeka May 2. Green would not discuss the details of his defense Friday but said he thought he was fired because of publicity and pressure.
He said corrections officers who were on duty when other inmates escaped from Lansing were disciplined but not fired.
"Basically, they needed a scapegoat, and I was it," he said.
Green said surveillance images taken when Young's van left the prison show him on opposite sides of the vehicle at different times, and show that he searched the vehicle.
But Green admitted that he had not searched the van as well as he should have.
Corrections officials weren't discussing the case against Green but will defend their decision before the Civil Service Board.
By appealing his firing, Green waived his right to remain anonymous and conceal his termination letters. Those letters show that Green had been disciplined for an escape in 1997.
In that case, Green said, he and other corrections officers didn't properly account for an inmate during visitation. A visitor helped with the escape of Damon Thomas, who was eventually captured in Kansas City.
However, Green said his punishment in that case was less severe than his co-workers because his actions were not the primary factor in Thomas' escape.