Criminal Justice

Bank robber who used bedsheet rope to exit 17th-story prison cell gets 41 months for escape


A bank robber who used a rope fashioned from bedsheets and dental floss to descend from the window of his 17th-story federal jail cell in Chicago is now paying the price for his daring escape.

Despite an argument by an defense attorney Gary Ravitz that Kenneth Conley has already been punished for the December 2012 escapade by a heftier sentence for bank robbery, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman was not persuaded. During a Monday hearing in federal court in Chicago, he gave the 40-year-old Conley 41 months for the escape, consecutive to the 20-year maximum he got for bank robbery in May, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The feds plan to transfer Conley to a “supermax” prison in Colorado to serve his time.

Before exiting the courtroom, Conley made an unprintable remark to the judge.

Escape charges were dropped against Conley’s cellmate, Joseph “Jose” Banks, who also descended the bedsheet rope along the building facade with Conley. He was the first of the two to be captured, after a several-day taste of freedom.

Speaking through an intermediary, Banks, who is also a convicted bank robber, told WLS last year that the two had been able to widen a narrow slit of a window without being detected because of construction then going on at the prison.

Describing the escape as “suicidal,” he said he had barely been able to make it down the bedsheet rope to a parking garage adjacent to the prison, where the two reportedly continued to the street and hailed a cab. “I was probably numb the whole while making my way towards the ground, losing and catching my grip at stop-and-go intervals, my legs up and giving out on me,” wrote Banks, who is a year or two younger than Conley, to an unidentified friend.

The escape occurred before dawn on Dec. 18, 2012. But it was not until about 7 a.m. that someone apparently spotted the rope still dangling from the window and discovered the two inmates were gone.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Inmate’s 17th-story bedsheet-rope escape shows he should get 20 years for bank robbery, judge says”

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