Jail escapee faces life sentence Dec. 20

Shane Johnson

A man who escaped from the Mesa County Jail while facing a life sentence in 2008 is looking at the same penalty in December.

Under options available to District Judge Richard Gurley, 42-year-old Shane Johnson could receive consecutive sentences on Dec. 20 adding up to 252 years in prison, which stems from Johnson’s convictions in a string of Mesa County burglaries in 2006, Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Savage said Thursday.

Gurley also will rule on whether Johnson is a habitual criminal under state law, which would enhance Johnson’s penalties.

Johnson, who is being held in a maximum security section of the jail, appeared in Gurley’s courtroom Thursday flanked by four Mesa County Sheriff’s deputies.

Gurley also scheduled a preliminary hearing Nov. 23 related to charges from Johnson’s Sept. 9, 2008, escape from the jail using hacksaw blades smuggled into the facility and bedsheets tied together to slide down the outside.

Prosecutors, at least for now, are pressing the escape case despite Johnson’s possible pending life sentence to prison. Savage suggested things may change.

“Our intent is to get to sentencing (Dec. 20), and see what he gets then,” the prosecutor said.

Johnson was returned to Mesa County from Mexico on Sept. 30, after his release to FBI custody. Johnson had been held in Mexico since his arrest in January 2009.


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