madison-press.com

Prison escapee gets two more years

By Jane Beathard jbeathard@civitasmedia.com

June 2, 2014

Two weeks on the run last summer earned a prison inmate two more years behind bars, following sentencing in Madison County Common Pleas Court on Friday, May 30.


Spencer Johnson, 28, was serving three years at London Correctional Institution (LoCI) for a 2012 Fayette County burglary when he slipped away from a prison work crew on Aug. 5, 2013. Crew members were picking up trash along Interstate 70 at the time.


Authorities searched an area near the Taylor Blair Road overpass extensively, certain Johnson was hiding in nearby woods and cornfields.


Three days later, a pick-up belonging to a construction company disappeared from the West Jefferson water plant. Johnson was allegedly behind the wheel.


Greenfield police re-captured Johnson on Saturday, Aug. 17, after a camper spotted him lurking near a local bike path in that southwest Ohio community. The heavily damaged truck was recovered nearby.


Johnson pleaded guilty to the escape on Friday. Additional theft and vandalism charges, stemming from the West Jefferson truck theft, were dismissed by the prosecutor’s office.


Judge Eamon Costello added two years to Johnson’s current three-year sentence and ordered the man to pay a total of $55,100 in restitution to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, LoCI, police departments in West Jefferson and Greenfield and others involved in last summer’s manhunt.


Johnson’s current release date is 2018. He is now housed in the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility at Lucasville, court records showed.


Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16, or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.