Local News

Sampson County Jail Administrator Reconsiders Resignation After Jailbreak

Posted April 24, 2002

— Sampson County's jail administrator has reconsidered his resignation following this week's jailbreak -- the second in two months.

Capt. Bob Barbour of the Sampson County Sheriff's Office said the problems at the jail have gotten so bad that he turned in his resignation Monday morning. According to Maj. John Hayes, Barbour reconsidered and was back on the job Wednesday.

Barbour said security concerns at the jail are so bad that officers are in danger.

"Right now, we only have people who are escaping. I feel that there will be people killed here if we don't get a new jail built," he said.

Officials said they discovered that the inmates were missing Monday morning during a 7 a.m. shift change, however the actual time of the escape is not yet known.

The men reportedly cut through the bars at the back of a cell which leads to a catwalk, removed an air conditioning unit from the wall and escaped through the wall.

Jail officials said that the men tied blankets together and lowered themselves from the second floor of the jail and escaped.

Officials with the Sheriff's Office said they have asked county commissioners for a new jail every year for the past 10 years. They said $6 million would cover the cost for the new jail, but nothing has been done yet.

Quincy Edgerton, chairman of the county commissioners, said the county is trying to do the best with what it has. He said the county will look to see what immediate repairs need to be made to the old jail, but there are no plans to build a new one.

The

escapees are described

as follows:

  • Jose Herrera: 32-year-old Hispanic male. Last known address in Wilmington. Charged with first-degree burglary and second-degree kidnapping.
  • Leonardo Garcia: 19-year-old Hispanic male. Last known address in Goldsboro. Jailed on drug charges, being sentenced to prison for 65 to 70 months in prison.
  • Renee Zamora: 31-year-old Hispanic male. Last known address in Clinton. Charged with drug trafficking, being held on $1 million bond.
  • David Earl Melvin

    : 24-year-old black male. Last known address in Clinton. Charged with breaking and entering; fugitive from Florida.

  • Maj. John Hayes of the Sampson County Sheriff's Office said the men should considered dangerous.

    In February, three men escaped from the jail after overpowering jailers during lockdown. Two of the men were caught. Franklin Elder, 22, who was being held on first-degree murder charges, remains at large.

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