Scully, who escaped from Pender Correctional Institution in 1977, was arrested in March after a traffic stop in Texas. The man who lived nearly three decades as law-abiding Steve Johnson is now trying to adapt to being thrown back into an old life - right down to being transferred back to the Burgaw prison he thought he had left behind.

"I feel kind of, like, confused," Scully said. "I don't have the mentality to be here now. I don't have a criminal mentality. This is bizarre."

But Scully could soon be a free man again. District Attorney G. Dewey Hudson, whose Fourth Prosecutorial District includes Duplin County, recently announced that Scully would not be prosecuted for escape. District Attorney Ben David, whose jurisdiction includes Pender County, has expressed similar sentiments.

Scully is hopeful the next good news he hears will be from a parole board.

"I'm a poster child for rehabilitation without state money," he said.