A suspected jewel thief who masterminded an escape from County Jail in Santa Ana last year agreed Wednesday to drop his fight against extradition and return for prosecution.
Michael Taylor appeared in court in Rapid City, S.D., and agreed to the extradition on the condition that California officials be advised of his fear that he will be harmed or killed if he is returned to the state's correctional system, Assistant State's Atty. Rod Oswald said.
Oswald added that he has relayed the message to California officials, who told him they would ensure Taylor's safety.
Taylor, 36, was arrested in May for allegedly trying to sell a large number of loose diamonds at a Rapid City pawn shop.
He faces charges of robbery, kidnaping, rape, grand theft and escape. At the time of the breakout from the recreation area of the men's jail in Santa Ana, Taylor was being held in connection with the theft of more than $2 million in jewels from Southern California stores over the last two years.
Two accomplices arrested with him in South Dakota have been sent to Iowa to stand trial on charges of robbing a jewelry store there.