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Two State Prison Escapees Captured, Two Remain at Large

January 17, 1986

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) _ Four prisoners slipped out of the Indiana State Prison by crawling through a sewer line, but two were recaptured today hours after the escape, authorities said.

The two men, both serving life sentences for murder, surrendered peacefully at 4 a.m. after Tippecanoe County deputies caught them in a pickup truck being driven by a former cellmate. The two other escapees, included a man convicted in the murder of two deputies during a robbery, remained at large, state police said.

The four men had crawled through a sewer line to freedom from the prison Thursday night, said Cpl. Charles Merz of the state police. They emerged through a manhole in the middle of a field and went into a wood where they apparently changed into civilian clothing, he said.

The breakout occurred between 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and was discovered at bedcheck, Merz said.

The men’s prison uniforms were found in the woods. At the same time, a 1982 car was stolen about eight blocks away, he said.

Authorities identified those recaptured as Jimmy Gordon Deaton, 39, a Kentucky native, and Mikco Steven Ball, 33, of Jefferson County.Still at large were Sanford Ray Marshall, 45, of Marion County, and Steven Douglas Bilyeu, 38, no hometown available.

Marshall was serving 60 years for the slaying of two Marion County sheriff’s deputies Jan. 2, 1981. The officers were shot by Marshall’s accomplice when they tried to stop a holdup at a shopping center. The accomplice was killed in the shootout; Marshall was sentenced to 60 years.

Bilyeu was serving a 32-year sentence for theft and burglary.

Deaton was serving a life sentence for murder and attempted robbery, authorities said.

Ball was convicted in June 1977 of the 1975 slayings of three men, identified at his trial as members of Indianapolis’ homosexual community. Ball abducted the three men and drove them to a field, where he killed them with a shotgun.

After the escape, the Lafayette home of Michael Kennedy, a former cellmate of Deaton, was put under surveillance, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Heath. He said Kennedy was driving the pickup when it was stopped.

Kennedy was charged with assisting a criminal and released on bond.

The prison is near the Michigan border and about an hour’s drive from the Illinois state line. It sits on the edge of a residential neighborhood in this city on Lake Michigan, but also borders largely undeveloped land.

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