Bank bandit pleads not guilty to jail escape
January 23, 2013 10:10PM
Updated: February 25, 2013 1:00PM
A convicted bank robber from Tinley Park on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to an escape charge stemming from his daring Dec. 18 breakout with a cellmate from the federal jail in downtown Chicago.
Kenneth Conley, 38, sat in a wheelchair during the hearing with a leg in a brace. He hurt the leg during the escape, in which he and Jose Banks, another bank robber, descended 17 stories at the Metropolitan correctional Center, using a makeshift rope made of bedsheets, prosecutors said.
Banks was caught in Chicago two days later, but Conley eluded capture until Jan. 4 when police stopped him outside a Palos Hills apartment complex where he apparently had been staying in a basement of a building.
Police said he was disguised as an old man and gave police a false name, before punching an officer and running away. He was apprehended a short time later while trying to break into a home.
Conley faces a maximum 20-year prison term for a 2011 bank robbery in Homewood and could get an extra five years if convicted of the escape.