30-Year Escapee Returns To Court

Thursday, June 29th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Almost three decades after fleeing to Canada, an escaped convict returned to court and was ordered to complete his initial four-year sentence.

Allan Harvie Richardson, 50, and his wife pleaded for leniency at his sentencing Wednesday.

``I've tried to be a good man and a just man,'' Richardson said. He told the court he was sorry for the acts of a ``foolish, radical young man'' and decided to surrender to make peace with the justice system and pay his debt to society.

He also said the sentence would be hard on his wife, Amalia, who has breast cancer.

Monroe County Court Judge John J. Connell said his decision ``brings me no happiness'' but that he had no choice but to impose the initial sentence.

Connell said Richardson needs to take responsibility for his actions and shouldn't be rewarded for escaping.

In 1971, Richardson sold $20 of LSD to an undercover officer at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he was a student.

The New York City native and Vietnam War protester served six weeks in Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison, before being transferred to a minimum-security work camp in Madison County.

Richardson was at the work camp for six weeks when the riot and retaking of Attica killed 43 inmates and correctional officers. He said he walked away from the camp and fled to Canada when a guard told him that he would return to Attica.

He has lived in Vancouver since 1975.

Letters of support for Richardson could be reviewed by a parole board to help determine when he could be released, said District Attorney Howard R. Relin said, who opposed setting aside the sentence. He said Richardson likely could be released within a year.

Michael Kennedy, Richardson's lawyer, said his client deserves mercy because he became an exemplary citizen and poses no threat to society.

``The man who is coming to court is a very different man from the young, impetuous and reckless student of 30 years ago,'' Kennedy said.