SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Fugitive charges were dropped against a 60-year-old woman who escaped from a Michigan prison in 1977 after authorities discovered she had surrendered decades ago and already been sentenced to time served.
Judge Michael Smyth ordered Friday that Judy Lynn Hayman be released immediately.
Hayman was arrested Feb. 4 after Michigan authorities, who thought she was still wanted, discovered she was living in San Diego.
U-T San Diego reported that Deputy District Attorney Richard Madruga asked the judge to dismiss the fugitive charge after a Michigan judge confirmed that Hayman had been sentenced to time served.
Defense attorney Lisa Damiani had previously submitted documents showing Hayman's prison sentence was suspended in 1982 after she surrendered.
Hayman escaped from an Ypsilanti prison after serving eight months of an 18-to-24-month sentence for stealing clothes from a Detroit store.
She legally changed her name to Jamie Lewis in 1983 and had been living in San Diego for several years.
Her next-door neighbor told The Associated Press after her arrest that Hayman was a "quiet loner but basically a nice person."
The neighbor, Theresa Padilla, said Hayman had lived in the neighborhood for more than six years and had three sons who "seemed like they were raised well."
One of her sons was visiting her when she was taken into custody, police said, and had no idea she was considered a fugitive.
Authorities tracked the woman they knew as Judy Lynn Hayman to San Diego after a Michigan Corrections Department officer who was stuck at his desk because of bad weather pulled her fingerprints and sent them to the FBI and other police agencies.
After the officer discovered the prints matched those of a woman living in San Diego under a different name, he sent an investigator to California and she was arrested.