updated 3/13/2007 1:26:56 PM ET 2007-03-13T17:26:56

A convicted triple-murderer escaped from the Kentucky State Reformatory early Tuesday but was quickly caught, corrections officials said.

The reformatory was missing one inmate during head count Tuesday morning and went on lockdown at 9 a.m., said Cheryl Million, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

Michael Wayne Brunner, 46, was found in a field near U.S. 42 about three miles west of the prison, Kentucky State Police spokesman Chip Perry said. He said Brunner was unarmed and wearing prison-issue khaki pants, a T-shirt, cap and tennis shoes.

“He gave up with no resistance,” Perry said.

Brunner was back in the segregation unit at the prison before noon, Million said.

An employee at the neighboring Roederer Correctional Complex had noticed something wrong with the fence at the reformatory and notified prison officials, said Gary Prestigiacomo, a corrections spokesman at the reformatory.

Brunner had been sentenced to life in prison for killing his girlfriend and two neighbors in 1990 in Louisville. He would have been eligible for parole in 2016.

Tuesday wasn’t his first attempted breakout.

Brunner was convicted in 2003 of burglary and attempted escape from the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville, according to the Department of Corrections. He and two other inmates had used a pair of pliers to cut through an inner fence, then used a homemade rope to climb a wall, according to officials. A security guard stopped them.

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