LINCOLN — A Nebraska State Patrol investigator testified Tuesday that the two inmates who escaped from the Lincoln Correctional Center in June had help from a third inmate.

The information came out during a preliminary hearing for Timothy Clausen, one of the escaped inmates, in Lancaster County Court.

Clausen, 52, was bound over to Lancaster County District Court to face charges of escape while being held on a felony and of being a habitual criminal.

Lancaster County Judge Thomas Zimmerman set an arraignment for Nov. 9.

Clausen and Armon Dixon, 37, are accused of escaping from the medium-maximum security prison on June 10 by hiding in laundry baskets in a truck headed for the Tecumseh prison.

On Tuesday, Patrol Investigator Cory Townsend testified that a third inmate, Brandon Williams, 26, helped the two climb into the laundry basket and covered them with clothing. The basket then was loaded onto a truck headed for the prison’s central laundry facility.

Shortly after the truck got on the road, Townsend said, Clausen and Dixon used a metal rod to break a hole in the roof of the truck, then climbed out.

A caller to 911 later reported seeing two men wearing what appeared to be prison garb running near U.S. Highway 77 and Warlick Boulevard in Lincoln.

The two then stole a truck and drove off with law enforcement officers in pursuit, authorities have said. After crashing the truck near the State Capitol, they disappeared into the neighborhood.

Dixon was taken into custody the following day in Lincoln. Clausen was captured on June 15, when Omaha police found him at the Spencer Apartments complex in northeast Omaha. He was discovered on an upstairs toilet with a revolver beside him.

Wanda Minor, 51, is accused of helping Clausen get from Lincoln to Omaha. She has been charged with being an accessory to a felony. A Sept. 29 arraignment in Douglas County District Court had to be cut short after she became too tearful to continue.

State prison officials did not respond to questions about Williams’ alleged involvement in the escape. No criminal charges have been filed against him.

Clausen is serving a significant prison sentence for attempted first-degree sexual assault of a child and tampering with a witness.

He served time in prison previously for burglary and then manslaughter. The habitual criminal charge is based on his sexual assault and manslaughter convictions.

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Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-473-9583.

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