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He’s Spry but Female Bailiff Foil’s Escape Sprint by Man

Times Staff Writer

A nimble bailiff foiled an escape attempt by a murder defendant named Ellis Spry on Wednesday, when she tackled him after he sprinted from a courtroom in the downtown Los Angeles Criminal Courts Building.

Linda Collins, a 13-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, was escorting Spry into the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Fred Woods for a hearing, “when he turned and ran right out the double doors and into the hallway,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Allan S. Tyson.

As Spry darted toward a bank of elevators, Collins gave chase, wrestling him to the ground about 100 feet down the hallway. A nearby juror and two Los Angeles police officers helped her restrain Spry, while Tyson fetched a pair of handcuffs.

“She did an excellent job, a super job,” said Larry Touquet, a bailiff supervisor in the Criminal Courts Building. “She was angry, and I think she scared him. She chased him down and yelled at him and grabbed a hold of him.”

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“I was just doing my job,” Collins, 39, said later.

Tyson theorized that Spry, 29, had planned his escape, because “he showed no hesitation to run.” However, the plan “was not well thought out,” the prosecutor added, because Spry headed toward the building’s elevators, which are notorious for their slow and inefficient service.

The 5-foot, 6-inch, 160-pound Spry is being held without bail in the June, 1985, robbery and shooting death of downtown Los Angeles resident Raymond Brown.

At a court session later Wednesday, Spry was handcuffed, chained and guarded by two bailiffs.

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