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Man charged with escape in alleged dash from prisoner transport van

Man charged with escape in alleged dash from prisoner transport van

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Leon Taylor

Leon Taylor 

CROWN POINT — A man accused of escaping from a prisoner transport van in Gary while en route to the Lake County Jail to face a murder charge appeared before a judge Tuesday on a newly filed felony escape charge.

Leon Taylor, 22, is charged with murder in the shooting death of Daniel Nitzsche, 52, on Nov. 19 outside a building Nitzsche co-owned in the 700 block of West 150th Street in East Chicago.

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Lake County prosecutors charged Taylor on Feb. 26 with escape, a level 5 felony. In that case, he's accused of running Dec. 14 from a REDI Transports vehicle as the vehicle's driver waited in a drive-through lane at a Gary McDonald's.

Taylor was captured by police Dec. 30 in East Chicago after a weekslong manhunt, police said.

Taylor also is facing six other pending felony cases, including five robbery cases and a burglary charge. Those cases predate the murder case.

Taylor's attorney, Angela Jones, said he would waive formal reading of the escape charge and asked that his next court appearance in all cases be set for April 27. 

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Without any objection from Deputy Prosecutor Jacob Brandewie, Judge Natalie Bokota granted Jones' request. 

Lake County commissioners agreed Feb. 17 to send a letter to REDI Transports seeking a reimbursement of more than $30,000 for expenses incurred during the manhunt and recapture of Taylor and the company's original charge to transport Taylor to Lake County from Texas.

Gallery: Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail


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