Crafty escapees sent back to jail

2013-10-20 14:30
(File)

(File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Panama Beach - Two convicted killers who were freed from prison by phony documents were captured together without incident on Saturday night at a Florida motel, authorities said.

Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, both 34, were not armed when they were taken into custody at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn in a touristy area of Panama City Beach, near putt-putt courses and go-kart tracks. Several hours earlier, their families had held a news conference urging them to surrender.

Jenkins and Walker were both serving life sentences at Florida's Franklin Correctional Facility before they were released within the last month. The bogus paperwork, complete with case numbers and a judge's forged signature, duped prison officials and reduced their sentences to 15 years.

Jenkins was released first on 27 September. His uncle and father figure, Henry Pearson, said when prison officials called him in Orlando he jumped in the car with fresh clothes for Jenkins and picked him up from prison.

He drove him to see his mother and grandmother. Jenkins hung around Pearson's home for a couple of days and registered as a felon on 30 September at an Orlando jail, as he was required by law. He filled out paperwork, had his photograph taken and his fingerprints were checked against a database to make sure he didn't have any outstanding warrants for his arrest.

The Orange County jail official who interacted with him had no idea he was supposed to be locked up, Sheriff Jerry Demings said.

Acted normally

Pearson planned a birthday party for Jenkins on 1 October, but he didn't show. Pearson thought little of it because Jenkins had friends in the area, and after all, he had been locked up since the 1998 killing and botched robbery of Roscoe Pugh, an Orlando man.

About a week later, on 8 October, Walker was let out of the same prison when similar legitimate-looking documents duped prison officials. His mother, Lillie Danzy, said the family thought their prayers had been answered when she got a call saying her son was being released. She called prison officials back to make sure it was actually happening.

There wasn't time to pick him up, so prison officials took him to a bus station, gave him a ticket-— as they would any other ex-inmate - and sent him along.

Walker had been in prison since his conviction of second-degree murder in the 1999 Orange County slaying of 23-year-old Cedric Slater. Like Jenkins, he registered at the Orange County jail three days after his release without raising any alarms.

He knocked around town and went to church last Sunday, but at some point, he and Jenkins went underground.

On Tuesday, one of Pugh's relatives contacted the state attorney's office to let them know Jenkins had been let out. Pugh's family had been notified by mail, which is typical for families of violent crime victims.

Prosecutors reviewed Jenkins' case file and quickly discovered the forged paperwork. They soon discovered Walker's paperwork was also falsified, and a manhunt was launched for both men.

The falsified paperwork exposed gaps in Florida's judicial system. In light of the errors, the Corrections Department changed the way it verifies early releases and prison officials will now verify with judges - not just court clerks - before releasing prisoners early.

Read more on:    us

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.