Local News

Prison Escapee Walked Out of Jail, Sheriff Says

Posted January 23, 1999

— A man, once listed as one of the U.S. Marshal's 15 most-wanted criminals is still free, after outsmarting officials at the Robeson County Jail.

Mark Anthony Williams, 27, didn't even have to battle barbed wire to make his way to freedom. All he had to do was walk out the door of the jail.

Robeson County Sheriff Glenn Maynor said Sunday that convicted murderer Mark Anthony Williams used his mind, time and money to escape from the jail, without anyone even realizing until the next day.

"He's slick and a smooth operator," Maynor said.

Maynor said Williams convinced his cellmate, who was in jail for lesser charges and under a $20,000 bond, to switch identities with him.

"An idle mind is the devil's workshop," Maynor said. "And this is a good example of that. All those fellas have to do behind those bars is to try to manipulate and to figure out what's to their advantage."

Williams called in a bail bondsman under his cellmate's name to post bail, and when he stepped up to the booking counter to bail out, the sergeant on duty had no way of knowing he was lying.

"She did everything by the book that she was supposed to do. She asked the right questions, and then, what added pudding to the pie was that an officer of the court, which was the guy that brought him out, substantiated that that was who he was," said Maynor.

On Saturday morning, another inmate at the jail exposed the escape scam, and U.S. marshals realized they had a dangerous prisoner back on the streets.

This is the first time they've had an escape like this at the Robeson County jail. But similar escapes have happened in other counties in North Carolina.

Williams is charged with multiple killings related to an East Coast drug trafficking network and was awaiting trial on federal charges when he escaped.

The other inmate involved faces state charges of aid and abetting an escape and could face federal charges.

Williams, who is also a suspect in three Raleigh murders, is extremely dangerous, sheriff's deputies said, and could be in the Raleigh area. Anyone who sees him should call 911.


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