clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


One Kansas jail escapee nabbed after a chase near Green River has skipped a court hearing, and extradition proceedings moved forward for another.

Steven D. Baker, a convicted drug dealer, vanished after friends flew to Salt Lake City, took a taxi to southeastern Utah and posted $10,000 cash bail. Then Baker failed to show up for a hearing Thursday in Castle Dale.Meanwhile, fellow escapee Herbert Ross Montanye said in Salt Lake City that he would plead guilty in Utah to avoid extradition to Kansas.

But shortly after a removal hearing, prosecutor Richard Lambert said authorities probably will dismiss escape charges and send Montanye to Missouri.

Montanye faces sentencing in Missouri on drug charges carrying a penalty of at least 30 years in prison without possibility of parole.

Baker was found by officers on horseback but was not listed on the national crime computer as a fugitive and was bailed out.

Montanye was nabbed in the attic of a Green River motel where detectives had tracked him following the burglary at a nearby Utah Highway Patrol office, said Emery County Sheriff Lamar Guymon.

Montanye and Baker had been held at the Dickinson County Jail in Abilene, Kan., when they used smuggled hacksaw blades to cut a hole through a steel cell wall under a bunk on Feb. 18.

It wasn't until Feb. 26, when U.S. marshals sought to transport Baker to Kansas City for sentencing, that an undersheriff said the inmate had just escaped that day.

Baker, of Kansas City, and former Kansas City Fire Capt. Gilbert L. Dowdy were convicted last year on drug charges. Baker faces a mandatory life sentence without parole.

Dowdy was in the same jail, but did not try to escape, authorities said. Dowdy was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole.

Montanye is well known to police in Utah, where he had previously made two successful escapes and two unsuccessful escape attempts.

In 1981, he arranged to have his former wife toss two lighted sticks of dynamite onto the roof of the Salt Lake County Jail to blow out a hole for his escape. The dynamite exploded, but the plot failed.

He also nearly escaped with two other prisoners in December 1970 through a fan room at the Utah State Prison. Montanye was captured near the prison's outer fence.

In November 1966, he escaped with four other prison inmates after cutting a window, dropping 10 feet to the ground and scaling the outside fences. He was later captured and sent to the maximum-security federal prison in Marion, Ill.

And in 1963 Montanye escaped from the Morgan County Jail by cutting through cell bars with a hacksaw blade that had been sewn into the seams of his jacket.