Dixon Arraignment

Armon Dixon is arraigned via video while in custody at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in July at the Lancaster County Courthouse.

Armon Dixon, one of two inmates who was the subject of a manhunt in June, pleaded no contest to escape and second-degree assault Thursday.

Before Dixon, 37, left the Lancaster County courtroom, he learned that he would get 49 to 80 years added to his prison stay for the crimes.

The sentences could be seen as largely symbolic, though, given that he already is serving sentences that add up to 158 to 278 years.

Dixon got 80 to 140 years for a 2009 home-invasion rape of a stranger in her Lincoln apartment and 70 to 120 years for a rape and robbery at a convenience store a month earlier.

The terms should mean Dixon will be in prison for the rest of his life.

In court Thursday, with three prison guards around him and four sheriff's deputies in the room, Dixon said little more than "no contest" when Lancaster County District Judge Andrew Jacobsen asked him how he wished to plead.

Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Eric Miller said in exchange for the plea, he agreed not to file any additional charges in connection to Dixon's escape.

He said on June 10 Dixon hid in the back of a laundry cart to escape from the Lincoln Correctional Center just west of town, then punched a hole through the roof of the truck near Wilderness Park.

Calls to 911 about two men in prison clothes led to the discovery that Dixon and another inmate, Timothy Clausen, had escaped.

Miller said the next day a 61-year-old woman in an apartment near North 56th and Holdrege was heating soup in her microwave when she heard the door open and saw Dixon holding a stick wrapped in a shirt.

He said Dixon held it to her head and told her he would shoot her, then hit her with it and her 21-year-old daughter when she tried to help.

Miller said he hit the mother hard enough she fell to the floor and curled up in the fetal position as Dixon continued to hit her.

"I can't imagine they didn't think they were fighting for their lives," he told the judge.

Both of the women had swelling and bruising and scratches to their arms from the stick. The mother's head injury required staples.

When they asked what he wanted, he said he needed a place to stay for awhile. But, during the struggle, the daughter was able to get away and tell a couple outside, where they called 911, Miller said.

Dixon ran, but police caught him after he came up from a storm sewer at 49th and Francis streets.

Defense attorney Sandy Pollack asked the judge to take into account that Dixon already is serving lengthy sentences and saved the county and law enforcement the time and expense of a trial and, more importantly, didn't make the victims go through a trial.

Miller said some might say there's not much more this court can do, considering the time Dixon already is serving. But it was a terrifying event for the victims, he said.

Then, Jacobsen sentenced Dixon to the maximum he could give for assaulting the women, noting his history of violence.

Clausen, 52, was caught several days later in Omaha. He is awaiting trial.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.

Reporter

Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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