Prisoner escapee makes first appearance in federal court

A man who escaped federal custody Monday and fled to Columbus made his first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon. Billy Fitzmorris was already possibly facing a long prison term. He is now charged with escape and will likely face additional charges.

Shackled at the hands and feet, Billy Fitzmorris, 34, entered the federal courtroom one day after he allegedly escaped from a Youngstown hospital and hijacked a car where he fled to Columbus. According to authorities, Fitzmorris robbed two suburban banks and held two women hostage in Hilliard. Currently, Fitzmorris is only charged with escape, but his attorney, Sam Shamansky, said he likely will be dealt additional charges.

“I don’t think these charging decisions are going to take very long considering the nature of case, and, uh, the evidence the prosecution believes it is in possession of,” Shamansky said.

Assistant US Attorney, Kevin Kelly, said Fitzmorris could face multiple additional charges.

“The obvious ones we’re concerned of, of course the bank robberies, uh, here in our jurisdiction. We want to make sure that also the carjacking, the things up in Youngstown, are taken care of, so. That’s kind of my goal is to see that we hopefully can, I think consolidating it makes sense,” Kelly said.

Fitzmorris was already awaiting sentencing in Columbus for federal drug and weapons violations which carry up to a 45 year prison term.