Posted: Nov 5, 2012 10:26 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2012 4:38 AM
One woman told us she can rest easy tonight knowing a man she helped put behind bars years ago is in police custody again. Police said the search for Ronny Ray Stutes ended this afternoon, when the Marion Adjustment Center escapee was taken into custody in Louisville. Investigators said Stutes tricked a car salesman during a test drive, stole an SUV and may have robbed a bank.
Freida Downey, the woman who testified against Stutes years ago, says her life hasn't been the same since their paths crossed in 1999. Downey said what scares her most is Stutes' abilty to escape from the law. This past Friday was his 3rd escape. She told us every time he is on the loose, she fears what he will do if he finds her.
In 1999, Stutes struck Downey while he drove drunk through a crowd outside a Lexington Walmart.
"I will never forget that screeching metal, burning rubber and people lying on the ground. Just the chaos and destruction he left behind, I will never forget that," explained Freida Downey.
Downey was the key witness and her testimony helped lock Stutes up. Over the past 13-years Stutes has escaped from jail several times and that continues to terrify Downey.
"What type of mind frame that a criminals mind is in, what his mind frame is? I don't know if he has thought of harming me or any of the other victims, but why should I take that chance," exclaimed Downey.
Downey told us she never wants to meet Stutes face to face again and has moved more than 10-times.
"To have to go through three escapes. I'm at the end. My spirit, my spirit is broken," said Downey.
Fear, anxiety and depression are feelings Downey said she commonly experiences. She said she can't understand why Stutes isn't in a maximum security prison. How Stutes escaped this time is still under investigation. Downey has tried to get into the Witness Protection Program, but can't so she said she will continue to live in fear.
Downey also said someday she'd like to start an organization to help other women who are afraid they'll be attacked by someone they helped send to jail.