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Department of Corrections: 'Something went wrong'

LANSING, Mich. -- Escaped killer Michael Elliot was arraigned in LaPorte County, Indiana Tuesday. He pleaded not guilty and refused to waive extradition to Michigan.



Elliot is facing a theft charge in Indiana.


In Michigan he is facing charges of kidnapping, carjacking and escape.



The Department of Corrections in Lansing sent a letter to the warden of Ionia Correctional Facility in May that says because of budget cuts, the armed guards in the gun towers would have to go.



Could that have helped Elliot escape without getting caught?



"You can't run the Department of Corrections and always worry about costs. Dollar driven corrections is a bad policy," said Tom Tylutki, President of Michigan Corrections Organization.



Residents who live on the street where the victim was carjacked are outraged.



Even some employees inside the prison say the situation is unacceptable.



"I wouldn't be surprised if he says part of the reason he was able to escape is because he knew no one was out there to stop him," said Paul Jensen, a correctional officer at Ionia Correctional Facility.



They say cutting costs, leaving posts unmanned is a recipe for disaster.



"Something went wrong on Sunday evening. We are bound and determined to find out what that was," said Russell Marlan at the Department of Corrections.



Marlan says budget cuts are a reality. Prisons in Michigan are putting funds into technology rather than manpower, but is it the reason a four time murderer was able to escape?



"He left a housing unit, moved through a correctional facility with officers in  place and he did that undetected, went a long a fence row undetected, there's officers watching video cameras - undetected," said Marlan.



Marlan says it's too early to tell if having armed guards in the towers would have made a difference.



Others say it's clear as day.



"Had that tower been armed and staffed he never would have gotten to the fence, let alone through it," said Tylutki.



An investigation is ongoing to determine if anyone needs to be held accountable for Elliot's escape.

 

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