Run to Ground

Inmate Terry Banks broke out of jail in Missouri, prison guard Lynette Barnett by his side. They disappeared for seven weeks - until the law caught up with them in a Victoria County, Texas, trailer park.

Jeanne and Paul haven't visited Charlie in jail or tried to scrounge up bail money. Their friendship is officially over, Jeanne says. Paul and Jeanne trusted Charlie, and he brought felons (and America's Most Wanted) to their house.

It's a cold February afternoon, just as dreary as the December day of the arrest. Paul opens the front door wearing what looks like women's pajamas. Jeanne's inside. The television, of course, is on.
Life wasn't as sexy as Lynette's glamour shot.
Life wasn't as sexy as Lynette's glamour shot.

"I tried to help out a friend of mine, Charlie, and he fucked me," Paul says. "A friend of mine told me he needed a place to stay -- my life is fucked now. They were fucking criminals -- I didn't know shit."

(Police chief Braaten says, "He better say that." Ignorance is what will keep Paul out of jail.)

Jeanne's life now mirrors Lynette's mother and sisters at their most paranoid, worried moments. Jeanne can't sleep. She jumps when anyone knocks on the door and tells them to come back when Paul's around: She wants Paul to do the talking.

Reporters from the Associated Press and local papers have talked to everyone in the mobile home village. Jeanne knows the neighbors are talking about her, if not to her. All the people she used to drink beer, eat barbecue and shoot firecrackers with now ignore her. They don't even wave or say hello, Jeanne says. "They treat us like lepers," she says.

On her coffee table is a copy of William Brashler's The Chosen Prey; she feels like she's the title character. Every time she hears car wheels on the gravel road she swears it's the police coming to get her. "Like they say, 'I was screwed without no Vaseline,' " she says. "Or a kiss."

Shackled at the wrists and ankles, wearing gray pants and a white shirt like in Cool Hand Luke, Terry had his first hearing before a DeKalb County circuit judge Tuesday, February 23. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Charged with escape from confinement, he plans to plead not guilty.

When asked by the Press how he intends to argue that Terry did not escape from Crossroads when he wasn't there, public defender David Miller just laughed. And laughed.

Guilty or innocent, there's no way to punish Terry, since he's already serving a life sentence. A Class B felony charge would add five to 15 years on top of forever. The trial's outcome will probably just decide which prison Terry will be housed in.

Right now he's being held in the Potosi Correctional Center, 70 miles south of St. Louis. Miller is trying to get him moved to a prison where they can meet more privately. Surrounded by guards, he doesn't think Terry was able to tell him the whole story. His next court date is April 10 at 9 a.m.

Even though the outcome will have little effect, prosecuting Terry is a policy issue, says Bart Spear, DeKalb County's prosecuting attorney.

"If I never prosecuted somebody who escaped from prison, I might be sending the wrong message," Spear says. "You can't have people escaping from prison. That's not a good thing."

After Lynette was found, Harold Lockwood broke up with her mother. He decided that the story officers told made more sense than the family's paranoia. "I kicked the whole family out," he says. "I told them to take everything that wasn't mine and leave."

Lorra says all of Lynette's stuff, her horse and her dogs are at her father's house in Kidder, Missouri. But when Dave called his father-in-law, he was told the dogs had been given away. (Even though Dave says they were his dogs that a high school friend gave to him.) Dave is mad. He wants his dogs back. But that will have to wait.

Lynette has been suspended without pay from Crossroads. She is being held in the Harrison County Jail in Bethany, with bail set at $100,000 cash. No one in her family could afford one-fourth of that.

"She deserves to be in jail," Lipanovich says. "She's incredibly stupid. She did one of the stupidest things in history."

Lipanovich spoke at his 14-year-old daughter's middle school career day and used Lynette as an example of a woman who made "bad life choices."

Lynette's divorce attorney took her case but refuses to say anything besides the fact that she's innocent and there's a "good possibility" that Lynette was kidnapped. The attorney said Lynette would probably be willing to be interviewed, then she stopped returning phone calls.

Like Terry, Lynette waived her right to a preliminary hearing at her first court date, March 1. Her lawyer asked for a reduction of the $100,000 bail. "I denied it," says Judge Warren L. McElwin, associate circuit judge of DeKalb County. The purpose of a bond is to ensure appearance in court, McElwin says, and since Lynette was caught down in Texas, he doesn't trust her to stay in Missouri. So he's keeping her in jail.

When asked what he thought of the case, the judge just laughed.

Lynette is charged with a Class D felony and faces two to five years in prison, one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Missouri state Representative Randall Relford introduced a bill into the House when the January session started to change Lynette's alleged crime to a Class B felony with a five- to 15-year term that can be extended to 30 years. He thinks letting a convicted murderer loose demands a greater punishment.

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