Teen Accused Of Murder Flees Hospital, ‘Terrified’ Of Being Tried As Adult: Family
An attorney representing a Pennsylvania teenager accused of murder said his family believes the boy escaped police custody because he’s “terrified” of being tried as an adult and sent to prison.
Shane Pryor, 17, was 14 years old when he was arrested in 2020 in connection with the killing of Tanya Harris in Philadelphia. He is accused of shooting her in the head on Oct. 15 that year, after he and a friend tried to solicit sex from her, CBS reported, citing an arrest affidavit.
Harris’ body was found in an alcove on Oct. 10, 2020, and investigators identified Pryor as one of the people in surveillance video from the location, according to the outlet.
Police stopped Pryor five days later, and he allegedly told officers he solicited sex from Harris, but was not the one who shot her. He said another person was with him, and that this person killed Harris, but Pryor did not offer a name, according to CBS.
Pryor had been in juvenile detention since Oct. 2020 and has not received a trial. He has maintained his innocence the entire time, his attorney, Paul DiMaio, told The Associated Press.
Pryor escaped police custody on Wednesday after he was taken to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to treat an injury to his hand, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Clark said at a press conference on Friday.
According to Clark, Pyror asked front desk staff to use the phone but was denied, prompting him to leave the building. He soon found a woman on the street who allowed him to use her phone, after he claimed he was just in a fight.
Pyror allegedly called Michael Diggs, a friend, to come pick him up. Surveillance footage a showed them leaving together, Clark said.
Highway patrol stopped Diggs’ car later that day, but Pryor was absent from the vehicle. Diggs, 18, was taken into custody and charged with assisting Pryor’s escape, Clark said.
Clark said marshals believe that Pryor may be receiving help from others, and offered the public a $5,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Since his escape, Pryor’s family has maintained his innocence, DiMaio told CNN on Thursday.
DiMaio said neither neither he nor Pryor’s family have heard from the teen since the escape, but they believe he ran because of a December court ruling that kept his case out of juvenile court.
“The only thing I can speculate is I know from talking to his mother and talking to him [that] he was really scared and really frustrated that the system kind of failed him [by trying him as an adult],” DiMaio said, per CNN.
Pryor’s mother told ABC affiliate WPVI that her son called her and said, “I’m never gonna see you again. They are going to try me as an adult.” He’s “terrified,” she added.
She told CBS she also thinks her son is worried about seeing the person Pryor accused of killing Harris while in prison. But she’s urging Pryor to turn himself in.
“Just turn yourself in so it don’t get any worse than it has to be… Mommy is fighting for you, I’ll always be fighting for you,” she told WPVI.
Tanya Harris’ sister told the news outlet that the escape has been traumatic for her, saying “it’s like my sister is murdered a second time.”
“We just wish we could find this fugitive and go to court. It’s been three years,” she told WPVI.