LYONS, N.Y., SEPT. 10 -- The story of a fugitive who spent 14 years on the lam after escaping from a Maryland prison and was captured in central New York a reformed woman has attracted the attention of a Hollywood film producer.
But a lawyer for Mary Gilmore says that a lucrative television movie contract will not win her freedom from a jail term unless she can find a job.
"There's a great bit of irony" that Gilmore can't find a job, said Henry L. Rogers, the lawyer representing her in Baltimore, where she is in prison.
Although Gilmore can't find employment now, she had worked under assumed names during her years as a fugitive at a variety of jobs, from nurse's aide and apple picker to welder and migrant outreach worker.
Gilmore is to appear Thursday before the Maryland parole board, which will determine if her remaining prison time can be reduced or eliminated, Rogers said.
He must convince authorities that Gilmore can lead a productive life outside of prison by showing them that she has a job, he said.
Rogers said in a telephone interview that he has been working with several of Gilmore's friends in Lyons to find her a job, but so far they have not succeeded.
"I don't think there's a shot of her getting out without a job," Rogers said. "It's frustrating . . . to get this far in the case and be at such a dead end."
Gilmore, 39, was arrested in March for breaking out of the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women in 1973. She won a moral victory during her Aug. 10 trial on the escape charge, when she was sentenced to only 40 days in jail on a charge that could have drawn a 20-year sentence.
She was given the lighter sentence after Rogers presented evidence -- including letters from Gilmore supporters in New York state -- that she had reformed since her escape.
For the four months before her arrest, she worked as a counselor for the Wayne County (N.Y.) Association for Retarded Children. She also had become certified as a nurse's aide.
On March 23, when state troopers found Gilmore, she was driving a van for the association, picking up a group of retarded people from a therapist's office.
But an association official said he could not guarantee Gilmore her job back.
Gilmore must also serve the remaining year of her original three-year sentence for drug possession. And she faces a felony bad check charge in Pennsylvania that could add three years to her total prison time.
Rogers said Gilmore's movie contract provides her with $1,000 every six months until the movie is made.