LAPORTE, Ind. (WOOD) – An Ionia state prison inmate who escaped and was captured in Indiana maintains he is not guilty of murdering four people in 1993, and he is fighting the legal process that would bring him back to Michigan.
Michael Elliot was arraigned Tuesday in a LaPorte, Ind. courtroom on auto theft charges in connection to one of four car thefts he allegedly committed while on the run from the law.
After 20 years behind bars and facing the rest of his life in prison, he got away from the Ionia Correctional Facility Sunday evening and was free for about 24 hours before being captured following a police chase near LaPorte.
Elliot’s demeanor was calm in court Tuesday morning and casual as he left the courtroom.
“Fled from Michigan because of my sentence. They didn’t want to give me no second chance. I wasn’t trying to hurt nobody,” he told 24 Hour News 8 when asked whether he had anything to say.
Elliot has always said he did not kill Vickie Currie, Michael Tufnell, Bruce Tufnell and Cathy Lave in a home north of Midland in August 1993. A 2005 petition for release, based on a letter asserting his innocence from a co-defendant, was denied.
When asked by 24 Hour News 8’s Leon Hendrix how he escaped from prison, he responded, “quick thinking.”
Elliot’s attorney told the judge Tuesday that his client will fight extradition.
Michigan authorities are trying to get a governor’s warrant to speed up the process. They have 30 days to issue an extradition warrant, a judge said, according to the Associated Press.
If Elliot is successfully extradited to Michigan — and there is at this point no reason to believe that he won’t be — the charges in LaPorte County will likely be dropped because he is already serving five life sentences for the murders and the house fire that followed them.
Meanwhile, he is being held in the LaPorte County Jail under high security on a $1 million bond.