Eric Conn details escape in 42-page letter to Lexington Herald-Leader
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Eastern Kentucky lawyer Eric C. Conn is talking about his escape. Conn gave the details in a handwritten, 42-page letter sent to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
"Mr. Conn is very intelligent, but he wants to have his side of the story known," said Bill Estep, the Lexington Herald-Leader report Conn mailed the letter to. "The things he said were fascinating."
In April 2016, a federal grand jury indicted Conn on charges he defrauded the government out of more than half a billion dollars. He pleaded guilty in March 2017 and was awaiting sentencing when he disappeared in June 2017. The next month, a judge sentenced him to 12 years in prison. In his letter to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Conn said he decided to run because he feared being sexually assaulted while behind bars.
"What does one do when he is forced to reconcile his respect for what he knows is right and his fear of being sexually assaulted or sexually abused?" Conn wrote to the Lexington Herald-Leader. "I was not a believer and I did not have the courage to seek out counseling. I allowed fear to control my decisions."
Conn says he drove to New Mexico where he got into Mexico through a pedestrian crossing. He says no one checked his identification. In Mexico, he says, he used a puppy to cross the border. He thought it would help him get past security officers.
"The little guy was not exactly Rin Tin Tin, but I thought almost everyone loves puppies," Conn told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Authorities captured him at a Pizza Hut in Honduras last month. Conn described his life as a fugitive saying it was miserable.
"Honestly, honestly, it was horrible," he wrote. "I never got one true minute of relaxation."
"He said he never had one minute of relaxation. Life on the run was no fun. It sounded like he was almost relieved that it was over," said Estep. "He told me he lost a lot of weight and was looking over his shoulder all the time. He was paranoid. He said he got really depressed."
Conn also said he suffered "painful guilt" over the fraud he committed even before pleading guilty.
"The actions I took to ensure that my clients would receive their disability benefits were unjustifiable," Conn wrote.
He is now in solitary confinement at the Grayson County Detention Center, waiting for a trial on escape and other charges.
You can read the Lexington Herald-Leader's story here.