Local News

Man serving life for murders escapes from Halifax prison farm

Posted September 23, 2012
Updated September 24, 2012

— A man serving a life sentence for two 1980 murders escaped from a prison farm in Halifax County Sunday morning, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Authorities estimate that James Ladd Jr., 51, escaped from the minimum-security Tillery Correctional Center around 10 a.m., said Keith Acree, a spokesman for the public safety department. A tractor Ladd had been running on the prison farm was found abandoned shortly before noon.

More than 50 people and dogs from the prison and local law enforcement agencies were searching for Ladd into the night. 

Murderer escapes from Halifax prison Murderer escapes from Halifax prison

"Any inmate who has escaped from prison is a potential danger, because they're unpredictable," Acree said, adding that, as a prisoner, Ladd had a record of relatively minor, non-violent violations of rules.

Ladd robbed and killed two man on a Yadkin County farm on Nov. 26, 1980, authorities said. He was convicted of first- and second-degree murder and armed robbery in 1981 and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences.

Inmates at the minimum-security Tillery Correctional Center may work on the Caledonia and Odom prison farms, which are not fenced in. Acree said a security guard was supposed to periodically check on Ladd, who wasn't wearing a monitoring device, as he worked on the farm.

Anyone with information on Ladd's whereabouts is asked to call local law enforcement or the Tillery Correctional Center at 252-826-4165. He was wearing green pants and a white T-shirt when he escaped but has likely changed clothes since then, Acree said.


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  • bigredtruckman Sep 25, 2012

    One of the men murdered by this man was my cousin and it happened on my aunt and uncle's farm. He left behind a wife and very young children. This was a premeditated murder and if he would have been put to death, we wouldn't be worrying about him escaping now.

    I'm pretty liberal when it comes to civil rights for law abiding citizens, but if you deliberately kill someone, you have made a very poor choice and should forfeit any rights afforded to you as a decent human being.

    This murderer should have been off this planet a long time ago because of what he did.

  • piene2 Sep 24, 2012

    "Where are the anti-death penalty folks today! THIS is why the death penalty exists! What if he decides to kill rather than go back to prison. The NC justice system is broken.

    I for one are right here but thank you for asking.

    "Makes you feel secure doesn't it. That's why we have a death penalty. USE IT !!!
    Sundays Child"

    Actually I feel quite secure, thank you. and I do not even have a magnum47 six shooter. As far as using the death penalty goes, I for one would never sink to that barbaric level.

    I think he should have stuck it out. Surly he would have been released soon anyway. I should think he has served enough time already.

  • give me no quarter Sep 24, 2012

    There are hundreds if not thousands of inmates serving time in minimum security prisons all across the State who have been convicted of murder. After many years in prison, some inmates, depending upon behavior and other factors may earn the priviledge of being placed in minimum sucurity.

  • Bronco Sep 24, 2012

    As JIMMY BUFFETT would say i'll be "Nibblin of Sponge cake..Watchin the sun bake..All of the tourist covered with oil...On my front porch swing...Smell those shrimp they're beginnin' to boil....Wasting away in MARGARITAVILLE...Searching for my lost shaker of salt...Some people say that there's a woman to blame..but i know it's nobody's fault..

  • mdg0705 Sep 24, 2012

    "and he is responsible for his actions not the DOC officers".
    Well he WAS responsible for his actions prior to him killing 2 people. Since freedom obviously didn't work out for him, the DOC officers are very much responsible for every move he makes, being that he is in prison.

  • passport423 Sep 24, 2012

    "and he (the prisoner) is responsible for his actions not the DOC officers." That's got to be one of the dumbest comments I've ever seen here on golo.

  • drummerboy Sep 24, 2012

    hope he's found soon.

  • Scare Crow Sep 24, 2012

    bet he had some outside help, check 'em out.

  • aquamarine46 Sep 24, 2012

    I sure wish we could get a little of Texas justice system here in NC.

  • soldier Sep 24, 2012

    "he is responsible for his actions not the DOC officers."

    Actually, in prison, the officers are responsible for his actions. The idea is the staff of the prison is supposed to be in control, tell him what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. It's prison, not cub scout jamboree with scout masters supervising.