Michelle Theer, psychologist jailed on '04 murder conviction, currently in isolation on suspicion of prison break plan

May 18, 2010

Convicted murderer Michelle Theer has been placed in an isolation cell while officials investigate whether she was plotting a prison break.

Theer, a former Fayetteville psychologist, has been in prison since December 2004, when she and her lover, former Army Staff Sgt. John Diamond, were convicted of murdering Theer's husband.

Theer has been held in a single cell since April, when prison officials discovered that she tried to mail a map of the prison and other documents to someone on the outside, said Annie Harvey, warden of the N.C. Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh.

"We take anything that could cause someone to escape very seriously," Harvey said. "The best defense is to take everything seriously on the front end."

Harvey declined to provide details about the map or the other documents that she said Theer appears to have been trying to mail.

She said prison officials regularly screen inmate mail that appears suspicious. The smell or size of a package could trigger a closer examination, Harvey said.

She said Theer, who is 41, initially was placed in administrative segregation. Her status was changed to disciplinary segregation when prison officials determined that enough evidence exists to investigate her case further.

Theer has pleaded not guilty, Harvey said.

If Theer is found to have been plotting an escape, Harvey said, the punishment would likely be maximum-custody confinement and a loss of privileges.

Theer's husband, Air Force Capt. Marty Theer, was shot to death in December 2000 on a stairway outside Michelle Theer's second-floor office on Raeford Road.

Prosecutors said Theer lured her husband to the stairwell so Diamond could ambush him.

Diamond was sentenced to life in prison in a military trial in 2001.

Michelle Theer was indicted in May 2002 and went on the run. She hid in south Florida, where she had plastic surgery done to her face, lived under an assumed name and planned to change her identity several times to start a new life. U.S. marshals apprehended her in August 2002.

Source: Greg Barnes, "Michelle Theer in isolation, officials probe possible prison break," Fayetteville Observer, May 18, 2010.

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