Dallas Pleads Innocent To Escape Charge; Trial Set For Aug. 31
BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ Claude Dallas, the trapper convicted of killing two game wardens, pleaded innocent Tuesday to escaping from prison on Easter 1986 and was ordered to stand trial Aug. 31.
Dallas, 37, wearing the orange jump suit of a county jail inmate, was arrigned before 4th District Judge George Carey. He made brief, polite and positive responses to inquiries about whether he understood the charges and proceedings in the case.
The one-time trapper and ranch hand, who eluded authorities for nearly a year before he was recaptured, faces a maximum penalty for the escape of five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. He is already serving a 30-year term for voluntary manslaughter in the 1981 shooting deaths of Fish and Game officers Bill Pogue and Conley Elms.
Defense attorney Lance Churchill of Boise has said Dallas will base his defense on claims that he was justified in escaping because he had been treated unfairly at the prison south of Boise.
Churchill contended Dallas had been held under tighter security than others convicted of voluntary manslaughter because of his notoriety. He estimated the trial will take up to five days.
Dallas, whose life and exploits have been the subject of a song, a television movie and two books, has been portrayed by some as a mountain man and a loner. But law enforcement officials have cited his dependence on friends during the 16 months he was on the run after killing Pogue and Elms and the 11 months he was a fugitive after cutting his way through two chain- link fences at the prison.
Dallas was captured by FBI agents March 8 outside a Riverside, Calif., convenience store.