Bank robber pleads not guilty to jail escape charges

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Kenneth Conley, the convict who made a daring escape with another prisoner from a downtown federal jail last month, pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning.

The escape charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250.000 fine.

Conley, who was awaiting sentencing for a 2011 bank robbery in Homewood, escaped from the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Dec. 18. Conley and his cellmate, Joseph Banks, removed a cinder block in their cell and scaled 15 stories down the fa├žade of the building with a rope made of bed sheets.

Banks was caught a few days later, Conley was on the run for 18 days before he was caught in the south suburbs.

Conley appeared in federal court in a wheelchair again. He sustained injuries while on the run.

Conley also faces a maximum 20 years in prison for bank robbery.