Police: Escaped MI murder convict captured

Michael David Elliot (Provided Photo/Michigan Department of Corrections)
Michael David Elliot (Provided Photo/Michigan Department of Corrections)

LAPORTE, Ind. (AP/WOOD) Police say a convicted killer who made a brazen escape from a state prison outside of Ionia, Michigan has been captured in Indiana.

Indiana State Police Sgt. Ron Galaviz says Michael David Elliot was captured Monday evening in LaPorte County, Indiana.

Galaviz says a sheriff’s deputy investigating a vehicle theft spotted the stolen automobile and tried to make a stop. The suspect ran, but authorities were able to capture him.

Elliot, 40, escaped Sunday evening from the Ionia Correctional Facility. Authorities say he left through the sally port, a secured garage where new prisoners are brought into the facility. Elliot got through a hole in the fencing system which, according to a former corrections officer, is made up of two 12-foot high, razor wire-topped fencing sections with a smaller, electrified fence in between.

He then made a three and a half mile-trek into Ionia. That’s where he carjacked a woman. The two then drove with her to the Elkhart, Ind. area. She escaped at a gas station there and he took off in her Jeep Liberty. That SUV was found early Monday morning in Shipshewana, Ind.

Elliot was found in LaPorte County, which is west of Shipshewana.

Elliot was serving five life sentences in the Ionia Correctional Facility after being convicted of four 1993 murders.

In the early morning of Aug. 8, 1993, according to court documents, Elliot broke into a home in Bentley Township, north of Midland, killed four people then set the house on fire. Vickie Currie, her boyfriend Michael Tufnell, his brother Bruce Squires Tufnell Jr. and Cathy Lave were killed.

Charles and Paul Treece, and Tammy LaCross were with Elliot when the murders were committed. Charles Treece was also convicted of four counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery and setting a house on fire, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a firearm. He is also serving life in prison at the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising in the Upper Peninsula.

LaCross, who was 16 at the time and is victim Vickie Currie’s daughter, and Paul Treece both testified against Elliot and provided stories described as similar. Under the terms of plea agreements, they both pleaded guilty to robbery and felony firearm charges.

In 2005, Elliot filed a motion for release, saying that there was new evidence in his case — namely a 1994 letter from Charles Treece that attested to Elliot’s innocence. Elliot said he had previously been unaware of that letter, but that Charles Treece still said Elliot was innocent, according to court documents. A state court denied his request.

Elliot maintains he is innocent, according to the court documents.

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