Local News

1 Escapee Captured, 3 At-Large After Hoke County Jailbreak

Posted October 29, 2003 12:07 p.m. EST

— One of four inmates who escaped from the Hoke County jail late Tuesday night was captured Wednesday morning.

Three others remain at-large, and law enforcement agencies from across the country -- including border patrols -- have been alerted to the escape.

John Shannon Phillips, 32, was brought back to the Hoke County Jail Wednesday morning. Deputies said he was caught allegedly trying to shoplift new clothing.

"We've got three other ones out there. I'm not going to be satisfied after all of them are here," Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said.

Phillips was the last inmate to be reported missing after the breakout that occurred around 10 p.m. Tuesday. He was in jail pending charges on possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute.

Along with Phillips, Peterkin identified the other inmates who escaped as 23-year-old Hector Frausto, 22-year-old Christopher Damien Handon, and 20-year-old Steven Ray Locklear.

Peterkin said the men forced open a back door of the jail's annex and used clothing and sheets tied together to scale a fence and get over the barbed wire.

According to Peterkin, the annex is connected to the jail and is used to house prisoners. No jailers were on duty in the annex when the escape occurred.

"That structure back there is not really secure," Peterkin said. "We don't have an officer, we don't have the manpower to put an officer in that section to watch it all the time."

Deputies found one jumpsuit across the street from the jail and two others a few blocks away. One of the jumpsuits was stained with blood. Deputies suspect the men had outside help and likely split up after their escape.

Peterkin said he considers the escapees dangerous.

Locklear was jailed on charges of assaulting a government official.

Handon was jailed pending charges on robbery with a dangerous weapon and burgulary.

Frausto, who deputies belive is the most dangerous, is accused of kidnapping Hoke County teen Dana Pevia four years ago. Authorities believe he kidnapped Pevia, who was then 11 and reportedly pregnant with Frausto's child, and took her to Mexico in June 1999.

Pevia was reunited with her family in March 2003 after getting in touch with the U.S. Consulate. Frausto was arrested a few days later in North Carolina.

Peterkin said Frausto had left Pevia in Mexico with his family after six months.

"They've got him made out to be a terrible monster," Karen West, a friend of Frausto's, said at the time of his arrest. "That's not the person he is."

Frausto was placed on suicide watch at the jail, where he was being held under $1 million bond.

Peterkin blamed the jailbreak on staffing shortages and overcrowding at the annex.

Peterkin said the jail is supposed to hold only 71 people, but that it usually holds close to 90. He said about 93 people were in jail Tuesday night, with only three people to guard them.

The sheriff said he has been asking for extra jailers for months. A state inspector paid a surprise visit to the jail Sept. 16 and threatened to close it. Peterkin said he went before the county commissioner's board two days later but never received extra personnel.