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Lawyer Who Helped Convict Escape Is Freed After 10 Months In Prison

February 4, 1985

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) _ Mary Evans, a disbarred lawyer who spent nearly five months on the run with a convicted armed robber after helping him escape, was released from prison Monday, ready to ″try to get her life as straight as possible.″

Ms. Evans, who served more than 10 months of a three-year sentence for aiding in the 1983 escape of William Timothy Kirk, was discharged from the state work release center here and will work in a Knoxville factory.

″She walked out this morning with a smile on her face,″ said Warden John Patterson.

Ms. Evans, 28, was greeted outside the facility’s gate by her father, B.H. Pentecost of Knoxville. They exchanged smiles and hugs before driving away without speaking to reporters.

″I think she wants to go back into society and proceed with her normal lifestyle, as much as one can expect with her notoriety,″ said Patterson. ″She’s ready to go home so she can ... try to get her life as straight as possible.″

Ms. Evans must report to her parole officer at least once a month until her sentence expires in 1987. She may not go to taverns, leave Tennessee without permission or have any communication with Kirk.

Ms. Evans had been appointed to represent Kirk on murder charges arising from a shootout at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary when he escaped on March 31, 1983.

Prosecutors said she arranged for Kirk, 37, who was already serving a 65- year sentence for armed robbery, to be evaluated at a psychologist’s office in Oak Ridge, then slipped him a .25-caliber pistol that he used to overpower three guards, who were left bound and gagged.

Ms. Evans and Kirk remained at large for 139 days before being apprehended by FBI agents in August 1983.

Ms. Evans pleaded guilty last March to aiding Kirk’s escape. At her sentencing hearing last year, a psychiatrist testified that Ms. Evans believed Kirk could teach her to protect herself from ″alien things that torment her.″ The psychiatrist, Dr. Jerry Embry, also testified that Ms. Evans loved Kirk ″in the sense that an infant perceives a parent.″

Prosecutors agreed to recommend probation for her, but Anderson County Criminal Court Judge James B. Scott imposed a three-year prison term after she refused to take the witness stand and apologize for the crime.

Kirk is serving a life sentence for his conviction in the prison murder and a separate, concurrent term for escape and armed robbery.

Ms. Evans won parole on Oct. 10 and a month later was transferred from the Tennessee Prison for Women to the Chattanooga work release center because of good behavior.

For two weeks, Ms. Evans handled clerical work for Chattanooga attorney Jerry Summers, but she quit after the head of the state’s ethics board said a disbarred lawyer should not be hired for legal work. Since then, she had worked at Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga.

Patterson described her as a good prisoner who was tired of the publicity surrounding her case and wanted to keep a low profile.

″We have some who create a lot of problems when they come through here. We have some who do exceptionally well,″ Patterson said. ″She was one of those prisoners who did not create any major problems when she was here.″

Officials said Ms. Evans would go to work for Kimberlin Heights Industries Inc., a Knoxville metal-fabricating, electronics and silk-screening company. She will probably do some clerical work and perhaps even work on the assembly line, said company president Glenn Hodges, a friend of her family.

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