Blackburn escapee captured in Jessamine

Jessamine County sheriff's deputies and U.S. Marshals arrested an escapee from a minimum security prison in Lexington who walked away from the facility early Monday morning.

Kenneth Happy, 36, was caught at a friend's house in Jessamine County just before noon Monday, Chief Deputy Allen Peel said. Happy was reported missing from Blackburn Correctional Complex about 1 a.m., according to a news release from the prison.

Peel said deputies got a tip that Happy might be staying with his friend Mary Lalonde, 39. The two were found at Lalonde's home at 477 Collier Lane in Nicholasville.

Lalonde was charged with hindering prosecution or apprehension of a criminal. Peel said deputies believe Lalonde picked up Happy near the facility and drove him to her house.

At the time of his escape, Happy was serving time for convictions of first-degree wanton endangerment and criminal facilitation to commit murder in Anderson County; a Woodford County drug trafficking charge; and a previous charge of escaping from Blackburn.

Happy previously escaped on Jan. 23, 2000, and he was found and re-arrested on Feb. 3, said Todd Henson, spokesman for the state Department of Corrections. Happy would have been eligible for parole in seven months, the release said.

Blackburn inmates must be within 48 months of completing their sentences or being granted parole, and the prison does not house inmates convicted of sex crimes. But there is no regulation that would prevent someone from being held at the minimum-security complex because he has escaped before or because he was involved in a violent crime, Henson said.

"Violent crimes in and of themselves are not enough to keep you out of minimum-security facilities," he said. Henson said violent cases are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Lalonde is being held at the Jessamine County Detention Center, Peel said. Happy was taken back to Blackburn.

Fayette County public schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said schools had been on "heightened alert" while Happy was loose, but they were not placed on lockdown.