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Lawyer: Man likely back in Chicago jail he escaped

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm •  Published: December 21, 2012
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CHICAGO (AP) — A convicted bank robber captured days after a daring escape from a high-rise jail in downtown Chicago will likely return to the same federal lockup, though this time he'll most likely be held in a special isolation unit, his attorney said Friday.

Joseph "Jose" Banks, 37, made an initial appearance in court, shackles on his leg, arms and wrists clanging as he shuffled in. Banks looked tired but calm, nodding and saying "yes" when a judge asked if he understood he had been charged with escaping from a jail just two blocks from the courthouse.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier also asked Banks, who had represented himself during his bank robbery trial, if he agreed to let an attorney his family hired represent him on the escape charge. Banks paused, shrugged his shoulders and said, "OK."

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, attorney Beau Brindley said he expects Banks to be held in isolation. He called it "not a nice place," but didn't immediately say whether it was in an interior part of the building and was windowless.

Another man involved in the escape early Tuesday, Kenneth Conley, remains at large.

The FBI said Banks was arrested late Thursday, days after he and Conley somehow broke a large hole into the bottom of a 6-inch window of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, dropped a makeshift rope made of bed sheets out and climbed down about 20 stories to the ground.

Escape carries a possible sentence of up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine. Banks has already been convicted in federal court of four counts of bank robbery, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Among the observers in the crowded courtroom on Friday were several agents with the FBI, which took the lead in the search for Banks. One of his female relatives was also in court, Brindley told reporters. The relative declined to speak to reporters.

Banks was arrested on Chicago's north side, according to the FBI. Special Agent Joan Hyde said in an interview that no other arrests were made at the address where Banks was taken into custody. Whether anyone else will be charged, she said, will be decided by the U.S. attorney's office.

When Banks and Conley escaped, the FBI said both men should be considered "armed and dangerous." Hyde said she did not know whether Banks was armed when he was taken into custody.

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