Police in Lillington have arrested a 65-year-old woman who they say had been on the lam for 35 years after she walked away from a prison work release job at a McDonald’s restaurant.
Brenda G. Lucas was sentenced to three years in prison in Lenoir County in 1979 after she was convicted of drug possession charges and was sent to the N.C. Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh. In January of 1980, six months into her sentence and already eligible for parole, state officials say she walked away from her job at a fast food restaurant in Raleigh.
It’s not clear how long Lucas has been in Lillington or whether she used her real name during her years on the run, said Keith Acree, a spokesman with the state Department of Public Safety. Acree declined to say what led to Lucas’s arrest.
State authorities transported Lucas back to the prison she escaped more than three decades ago on Monday.
Acree said it is up to the parole commission to determine how long Lucas will have to serve after being captured. He noted that Lucas was sentenced before 1981, the year the state’s fair sentencing act went into effect.
“She was parole-eligible when she escaped,” he said. “Typically, offenders served only a fraction of the time they were sentenced.”
Acree said the decision to issue additional charges against Lucas, including prison escape, is us to the district attorney. The state parole commission could make a decision about parole after the district attorney reviews the case, he said.