35 years after escape, fugitive returned to Mississippi prison from Utah

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 20, 2015 7:19 PM

(Reuters) - A man who escaped from a minimum security prison in Mississippi 35 years ago was captured in Utah and returned to Mississippi to serve out the remainder of his sentence, officials said on Friday.

Sam Harris, 62, was sentenced in 1979 to six years in prison for burglary and possession of burglary tools, the Mississippi Department of Corrections said in statement.

He escaped from the Forrest County Community Work Center in southern Mississippi the following year, the department said.

Mississippi authorities learned of Harris's whereabouts from the FBI, the state's prisons department said. He was extradited from Utah on Sunday.

It was not clear whether Harris came into contact with law enforcement during his decades as a fugitive, nor how long he had lived in Utah.

A Mississippi Department of Corrections spokeswoman did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Harris will not incur additional prison time for his escape because fleeing from a community work center was at the time a misdemeanor, the department said in its statement.

He will be eligible for release in 2018.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky in New Orleans; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)