Prisoner gets 130 months for dog-crate escape

Convicted murderer John Manard was sentenced Friday to 130 months in prison for his escape from the Lansing Correctional Facility in a dog crate.

Manard appeared Friday morning in Leavenworth County District Court before Judge Frederick Stewart.

Manard told Stewart he had no regrets about escaping from prison in February 2006 and any sentence the court might impose would be “a small sacrifice” for the 12 days he spent on the outside.

After the sentencing, Manard smiled as he was escorted from the courtroom.

Terry Lober, Manard’s court-appointed attorney, said his client’s feelings for Toby Young, the woman who helped Manard make his getaway, fueled Manard’s statement in court.

“What he meant by that was that it was worth it to him to serve an additional 130 months in prison for the brief period of time that he got to spend with Toby Young – in his value system,” Lober said. “He’s a realist. He doesn’t ever expect to get out of prison.”

Hidden in a dog crate in the back of a van, Manard escaped from prison Feb. 12, 2006, with the help of Young, then director of the Safe Harbor Prison Dogs program.

A regular visitor at the prison since she launched the program there in 2004, Young drove the Safe Harbor van away with Manard in it.

Twelve days later, they were captured by authorities in Tennessee.

On Jan. 10, Manard pleaded guilty in court to one count of felony escape.

A felony charge of trafficking in contraband – a cellular telephone – was dismissed as part of a plea agreement struck between Lober and Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl.

Convicted murderer John Manard is surrounded by sheriff's officers as he talks with his attorney, Terry Lober, during an appearance Friday in Leaveworth County District Court. Manard was sentenced to 130 months for a 2006 escape from Lansing Correctional Facility.

Stewart also ordered Manard on Friday to pay court fees and more than $7,400 in restitution to the state for transportation and other expenses authorities incurred during the investigation.

“The findings of the court will be placed on his record with the Department of Corrections, so at anytime he has the ability to pay, he’ll be required to pay those as well,” Kohl said.

Lober said Manard is in administrative segregation at the Lansing Correctional Facility and is not allowed to work. He is released from his cell for one hour each day and has no contact with fellow inmates.

“The one hour a day is at midnight, and he’s allowed out in the yard and he walks around and looks at the sky,” Lober said. “He spends 23 hours a day alone in a concrete and steel box.”

Manard already is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, aggravated robbery and criminal possession of a firearm for the 1996 carjacking and murder of a Johnson County man.

Kohl said the 130-month sentence Manard received Friday was standard under Kansas sentencing guidelines and would be served consecutively, meaning Manard must become eligible for parole and be approved for parole on the Johnson County convictions before he can begin serving his sentence for the escape.

Young, now 49, pleaded guilty in Leavenworth County District Court in June for her role in the escape. In July, she was sentenced to 21 months in the Topeka Correctional Facility.

Manard and Young still face charges in federal court related to the getaway. Federal prosecutors have alleged Young gave two pistols to Manard after they left the prison.

Young is charged with one count of knowingly giving a firearm to a felon and fugitive, and Manard is charged with one count of unlawfully possessing a firearm after a felony conviction.

Kansas Department of Corrections records show Young has been held since Oct. 6 at a federal detention center, where she awaits trial on the federal weapons charges.

The earliest possible date she could be released on the state charges is Nov. 27.