A Los Angeles man who escaped from a Georgia prison in the early 1970s will not have to head back just yet.
Superior Court Judge Henry Barela gave Timothy Lamar Walton's lawyers until July 31 to figure out a way to keep him from finishing his seven-year sentence for armed robbery.
The lawyers plan to challenge a warrant signed by Gov. Gray Davis allowing Walton's extradition to Georgia.
Walton, 49, is free on $1,500 bail. He was arrested in April after Los Angeles police officers stopped him and discovered he was a fugitive.
Walton was incarcerated in 1971 for armed robbery. He says he escaped from a Georgia prison during a riot and eventually made his way to California.
In 1976, then-California Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymally refused to return Walton to Georgia after the fugitive turned himself in to law enforcement authorities.
In another attempt to help Walton, Dymally recently contacted Davis' office asking the governor to stop the extradition.
Walton's lawyers said Wednesday that they plan to appeal to Georgia officials to dismiss the fugitive warrant, considering Walton's rehabilitation, failing health due to AIDS and the length of time he has been free. If that request is denied, they intend to seek publicity in an attempt to pressure government officials to drop the case.
Bill Amideo, general counsel for the Georgia Department of Corrections, said that once Georgia issues a warrant, it expects a fugitive to be returned. The pardons and parole board in Georgia would decide whether to sentence Walton to more time or set him free, he said.