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2 Prisoners Who Escaped Kept Heavily Guarded : Courts: The Marshal's Service seeks to keep them shackled during trial in Las Vegas, where they were captured after breaking out of Lompoc penitentiary last year.

November 09, 1994| From Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — The U.S. Marshal's Service says two escaped California prisoners are such a danger that 11 deputies have been assigned to guard them when their trial begins in U.S. District Court Monday.

Repeated threats of physical harm and escape by Rick Lee Archer and Gene Michael Diulio have prompted the Marshal's Service to declare them "the highest level of threat" to the community.

The government, which at first attempted to have the trial conducted via closed-circuit television from the federal penitentiary in Marion, Ill., is now asking a judge to order that the men be shackled during trial.

Assistant U.S. Atty. Howard Zlotnick, in recent court pleadings, spelled out detailed developments that he said indicate the two were willing to escape at any cost.

Zlotnick said authorities found a 60-foot-long homemade rope and vacuum parts in Archer's cell when he was being housed at the Clark County Detention Center. Archer had broken a window in the cell.

Diulio had torn a mirror off the wall in his cell in order to be moved to a unit closer to Archer, according to Zlotnick.

On Thursday, prison officials at Marion had an X-ray taken of Archer and found two handcuff keys and two shivs hidden in his rectum.

The men also have threatened to take a physician's aide hostage and kill certain corrections officers at the detention center, Zlotnick said. He said letters from Archer, signed "Josey Wales," detail the route from the jail to the federal courthouse.

"All participants in the trial are at risk," Zlotnick said, asking U.S. District Judge Lloyd George to place a cover over the defense table to conceal the shackles from the jurors.

Diulio defense attorney Dan Albregts said Monday that he was concerned about his client's right to communicate with his attorney.

"Usually the way they communicate is in writing," he said. "I don't know what proposal they have in mind, whether their arms are going to be free to write."

Archer, 38, and Diulio, 31, were captured in Las Vegas last year after a bank robbery, double carjacking and escape from a federal penitentiary in Lompoc, Calif. Both have extensive prison and escape records.

The government has asserted that the two have connections outside prison that could help in an escape attempt.

Marshal's Service Deputy John Shoemaker said the two represent the greatest risk he has seen in his 8 1/2 years at the service.

Shoemaker said that after their Aug. 27 escape from Lompoc, the pair became suspects in a Santa Barbara homicide.

Both men are serving lengthy prison terms for other escape and kidnaping-related crimes that will keep them in prison until well after 2000.

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