Escaped Metchosin inmate pleads guilty to escaping lawful custody

Escaped Metchosin inmate pleads guilty to escaping lawful custody
Facebook/Correctional Service of Canada
James Lee Busch, 42, is one of two inmates that escaped from William Head Institution in Metchosin. Photo courtesy James Lee Busch, 42, is one of two inmates that escaped from William Head Institution in Metchosin.

One of the inmates who escaped from the William Head Institution in July pleaded guilty to one count of escaping lawful custody on Monday.

James Lee Busch pleaded guilty on Monday in the Western Communities Courthouse in Colwood. He appeared via video from the Matsqui Institution in Abbotsford, a medium-security prison.

A date for sentencing will be set on Feb. 13.

Busch and Zachary Armitage were the subjects of a massive search on July 8 after they failed to show up for the headcount at William Head, a minimum-security prison, in Metchosin the night before. Armitage’s lawyer told the court the tide was extremely low at the time and Armitage just walked off the property.

James Busch (left) and Zachary Armitage, escaped from the William Head Institution in Metchosin in July. They were later recaptured.  Photo courtesy Facebook/Correctional Service of Canada.

James Busch (left) and Zachary Armitage, escaped from the William Head Institution in Metchosin in July. They were later recaptured. Photo courtesy Facebook/Correctional Service of Canada.

Busch, who was born in Edmonton and is a member of the Cold Lake First Nation, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2010 and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 15 years. He had killed a woman over a $20 drug debt then put her body in a dumpster. The woman, 41-year-old Sandra Marie Ramsay, had lived next door to Busch at a downtown Saskatoon assisted living facility.

On the evening of July 9, an off-duty police officer noticed the pair when they approached him to chat about his dog while walking on the Songhees Walkway. Victoria police were called in and the two were taken into custody.

Armitage who is still serving a 14-year sentence handed down in May 2011, for robbery and aggravated assault was sentenced to an additional year in prison for the escape in November.

During the same week the prisoners were on the run, Martin Payne, 60, was found murdered in his Metchosin home. Police have never announced a connection.

With files from The Times Colonist

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