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Fugitive Veney is returned to prison


Convicted cop killer Samuel Veney -- whose escape after being granted a two-day pass from prison outraged crime victims -- was returned to a prison cell in Maryland yesterday.

Veney arrived about 1 p.m. at Martin State Airport in Middle River and, as state police escorted him to a waiting car, he protested to reporters that he had earned parole but would never be given it.

"That's one of the reasons I left. I been on work release for 11 years and family leave for 18 months, but they would never let me go."

On April 18 Veney failed to return from a visit to his son's home in Towson and spent a week on the run in New York. He was arrested outside a Manhattan police station as he conducted an interview with a local television reporter.

Two troopers from the state police fugitive unit retrieved Veney, flying back with him yesterday. He was later taken to the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup, where he will remain until corrections officials decide his new prison assignment, said Sgt. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman.

Sergeant Shipley said Veney will be charged with escape, which could add another 10 years to the life sentence he was serving.

Veney, now 54, murdered Sgt. Jack Lee Cooper, a 43-year-old father of two, on Christmas morning in 1964 after taking part with his brother, Earl, in the robbery of a Greenmount Avenue liquor store and the subsequent near-fatal shooting of another city officer, Lt. Joseph T. Maskell.

Initially sentenced to death, Veney won a commutation to life in 1973. Throughout his imprisonment, he earned his way with good behavior to lesser security classifications and work release.

He started earning family passes two years ago, and was on his 18th leave when he failed to return to the prerelease unit in Jessup last month. A family member said Veney had apparently walked away because he was worried about dying in prison and it was clear the state would never parole anyone who murdered a police officer.

Correctional officials said it is very doubtful that Veney will be returned to work release or the family leave program. He would automatically be disqualified from participating in either program if he is transferred out of the prerelease system, they said.

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