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'Dr. Dolittle' Escapee Gets 4 More Years

Courts: Kevin Pullum, who used a picture of Eddie Murphy on ID, enters no contest plea.

September 04, 2002|ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An inmate who boldly used a fake ID card with actor Eddie Murphy's picture on it to walk out of Los Angeles County Jail last year pleaded no contest to a felony escape charge Tuesday.

On the day his trial was set to begin, Kevin Pullum, who represented himself, entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors and was sentenced to four years in state prison.

He will serve the term in addition to a 65-years-to-life sentence he received in December for an attempted-murder conviction.

Pullum, 31, casually escaped from the Twin Towers jail on July 6, 2001, after returning from the Van Nuys courthouse, where he had just been found guilty of attempted murder.

He wore street clothes under his jail uniform, which he dumped in an unguarded tunnel on his way back to jail, authorities said. Then he apparently flashed the phony ID badge, which he had made with a newspaper ad for the movie "Dr. Dolittle 2" and the plastic cover of a court document.

Sheriff's officials launched a massive manhunt for Pullum, who spent his time on the lam shopping, visiting family members and romancing his girlfriend at her downtown Los Angeles apartment. He was arrested after 16 days on skid row, just a few blocks from where he escaped.

Pullum changed his plea Tuesday after Judge Michael Johnson said there would be no more delays before beginning the trial. Pullum faced a possible sentence of 25 years to life if a jury found him guilty of escape.

The district attorney's office offered Pullum the four-year term because he already is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Keri Modder. "So why waste thousands of dollars trying this case?" she said.

Modder said she also was somewhat reluctant to go to trial because she would have had to delve into sensitive security issues in open court concerning the county's jails.

Sheriff's Capt. Rick Adams said Tuesday that the case prompted the department to review security procedures and implement a new identification system.

"I am confident that it won't happen again," he said.

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