April 8, 2013

Man in Hillary Clinton office standoff recaptured

The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. – A man who took hostages at a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign office in 2007 has been caught less than 24 hours after walking away from a minimum-security correctional facility, authorities said Monday.

click image to enlarge

In this Dec. 4, 2007 file photo, Leeland Eisenberg talks about strapping a fake bomb to himself and taking people hostage at the Rochester, N.H. presidential campaign office of Hillary Rodham Clinton, during an interview from the Strafford County Jail in Dover, N.H. Eisenberg, who took hostages at a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign office in 2007, escaped from a minimum-security correctional facility on Sunday, April 7, 2013 authorities said. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

Leeland Eisenberg was arrested on an escape charge without incident about 8:30 a.m. Monday. He was found in the lobby of the Manchester Community Resource Center, looking through job applications, said Jeffrey Lyons, Corrections Department spokesman.

Eisenberg, 52, was being brought back to the state prison in Concord and faced an indictment on the escape charge, a felony punishable by 3 ½ to 7 years in prison, Lyons said.

Eisenberg was missing from his room during a head count Sunday afternoon at the Calumet Transitional Housing Unit in Manchester. He had transferred there on Jan. 31.

He was sentenced in 2010 to 3 ½ to 7 years for probation violations. He would have been eligible for parole in August.

Lyons said the state averages between five and seven minimum security walkaways a year from its three halfway houses. Eisenberg was the first one this year, he said.

"He was not a disciplinary matter," Lyons said. "He had been following the rules," able to leave the halfway house with advance approval. "We were satisfied with the way he was proceeding in his rehabilitation, quite frankly."

Lyons said the halfway houses have security cameras and officers working 24 hours a day. Residents wear street clothes and can go shopping and look for work with officers' permission.

"We're always willing to review our security," he said. "Our track record is such that we have more successes than failures."

Eisenberg spent about two years behind bars for the November 2007 siege at Clinton's Rochester campaign office in which he claimed to have a bomb. No one was hurt in a five-hour standoff and the bomb turned out to be road flares.

At his arraignment in that case, public defender Randy Hawkes portrayed Eisenberg as a man at the end of his rope emotionally after being repeatedly turned down when he sought psychiatric help.

Eisenberg "heard voices and saw a movie in his head telling him he had to sacrifice himself" to shine light on the flaws in the health care system, Hawkes said.

Eisenberg was released on probation in November 2009. His first violation occurred soon after his release, when he failed to charge his monitoring bracelet. He was incarcerated in January 2010 after failing to take mandatory alcohol breath tests.

In February 2010, he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet and fled, a day after being given a last chance at freedom by a judge who released him despite multiple probation violations. He was found in his Dover apartment the next day.

Eisenberg's long criminal record also includes two rape convictions.

He was sentenced to 10 years for rape in Worcester, Mass., in 1985 but escaped the next year and committed another rape, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to 11 to 20 years for that. He was released from prison in March 2005.

 

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