South Carolina man says he faked death to avoid drug charges

Julius Nesbitt sits in the visitors room at the Vigo County Jail Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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January 11, 2008
News 12 at 11 o"clock

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) -- A South Carolina man admits he faked
his own death to escape drug charges.

Butch Nesbitt had spent more than six weeks on the run after his
empty 14-foot boat was found beached along the South Carolina
coast. Authorities finally tracked him a friend's home in western
Indiana, where they found him with his girlfriend and bags
containing about $57,000 in counterfeit cash.

After his boat was found, agencies, including the Coast Guard,
spent days looking for him at a cost of about $170,000.

In a jailhouse interview with The Associated Press, the
58-year-old Nesbitt says he orchestrated his "death" to escape
drug charges. In his words: "It was either that or face prison the
rest of my life, is how I saw it."

Nesbitt's sister says she found out he was alive through text
messages she received Tuesday night from his girlfriend. One of
them read: "Me and B in jai."

Nesbitt says he regrets putting his family through the ordeal.