Jail escapee given ten life sentences

Published 11:41 pm Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A man who escaped the Polk County Jail earlier this year received 10 life sentences Monday in Spartanburg County Court.
Dennis Paul Elliott, 52, of Spartanburg pleaded guilty to 55 charges and was given 10 life sentences without parole by Circuit Judge Roger Couch. The charges included 25 counts of burglary, 9 counts of grand larceny, assault and battery high and aggravated, failure to stop with great bodily injury and several other charges. Most of the charges were given in 2009 in what Judge Couch said was one of the most extensive crime sprees he has ever seen.
Elliott was being held in the Polk County Jail on burglary charges when he escaped on Jan. 18 while cleaning the jail as a trustee. Elliott gained entry into a lock box and stole a gun and walked away from the jail. The next morning he carjacked a woman just outside Columbus who was leaving for work and stole her 2009 Kia Sportage and headed for Spartanburg, S.C. In Boiling Springs, S.C., after being chased by both Polk County and Spartanburg County deputies, Elliot and a Spartanburg County deputy crashed into a woman who was taking her four children to school. One of the children was seriously injured in the crash, but has since recovered.
Carjack victim Annette Sepulveda, of Polk County, spoke in court Monday following Elliotts apology to the victims. Sepulveda said that Elliott has no regard for human life.
“His criminal history says he has no regard for human life at all,” said Sepulveda. “I hope that apology keeps him warm at night because it means squat to me.”
Elliott blamed cocaine on his crime spree.
“I was on drugs so bad, I stole from my mother,” said Elliot. “Nothing I can say will describe how sorry I am for what I did.”
Elliott also pleaded guilty to assaulting a Duncan, S.C. man at his home last August, beating him with a crow bar, handcuffing him to a wheelbarrow, and stealing prescription drugs and $1500 from him.
Two Polk County jailers were fired following the escape and Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill said Elliott should have never been a trustee and should have been watched more closely. The lock box has also been taken out of use for officers.
The Polk County charges against Elliott were dropped, including the escape and carjacking charges due to Elliott being sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.

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