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Man who fled court faces the music again

Judge Mejia gives Kevin Lewis Hardy three years in prison for assault and escape

A man who fled from the Jackson County Justice Building in July found himself back in the same courtroom he escaped.

Kevin Lewis Hardy, 34, will spend three years in prison for assaulting his girlfriend and then running from the courtroom before he could be sentenced for the crime. He pleaded guilty Monday in Jackson County Circuit Court to a charge of second-degree escape.

I'm sorry it had to come to this, Hardy told Circuit Court Judge Lorenzo Mejia. I'm just ready to get on with my life.

Why'd you hang around so long and decide to take off? Mejia asked.

I just flew the coop. Got scared and took off, Hardy replied.

Hardy bolted from Mejia's courtroom on July — when the judge announced that Hardy would be held in jail without bail until he could be sentenced. Earlier that day, a jury had voted to convict Hardy of assaulting, menacing and harassing his girlfriend. Mejia also sentenced Hardy for those crimes in addition to the escape charge.

Hardy said he had no objection to a sentence imposed by Mejia when the judge reminded him that he could take offense for Hardy having run from his courtroom.

Corrections deputies were on their way to take Hardy into custody when he ran from the third-floor courtroom around 5:20 p.m. Hardy's trial had ended after the court's business hours, and the building was empty. It is not unusual for deputies to be absent during trials for less serious felony crimes, said Jim Adams, Circuit Court administrator.

However, Hardy's escape could have been prevented if the building had a single point of entry and exit, which will be created when construction on the Justice Building is complete, Adams said. The remodeling project has been under way since September and had been planned for more than a year.

The county also is hiring several full-time officers to provide court security, Adams said. The court now asks sheriff's deputies and Medford police to provide extra security if needed, he said.

Medford police searched the city for Hardy, who also goes by the name of K-Town Townsend. He fled to California, where he was arrested and held in the Solano County Jail in Fairfield, Calif. He was extradited to Jackson County and jailed on Oct. 31 on warrants charging him with escape and probation violation as well as the original assault charges.

Police initially were concerned that Hardy would try to contact his girlfriend, whom he had threatened to harm, said Medford police Lt. Mike Moran. The Medford woman did not cooperate with police and was compelled to testify at Hardy's trial.

Monday she tearfully asked Mejia to drop the no-contact order against Hardy so she and her children could visit him in jail. Mejia did not say whether he would grant the request but told Hardy that he had an unhealthy influence on his girlfriend and her children.

A convicted sex offender who had failed to register in Jackson County, Hardy also was convicted in Circuit Court in 1999 of fourth-degree felony assault, fourth-degree assault, harassment and recklessly endangering another person, according to court records.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail