Local News

Arrests Made in Connection with Robeson County Jail Escape

Posted January 24, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— U.S. Marshalsnow say a man accused of making a business of murder had outside help escaping from the Robeson County Jail.

Now, with the manhunt in full swing,Mark Anthony Williams'alleged partners in crime are the ones behind bars for helping him escape.

Investigators believe 27-year-old Williams paid another inmate to switch IDs with him. Williams, pretending to be the other inmate, walked right out of jail.

Now, two bondsman who may have been in on the escape are facing federal charges.

"I guess this is a good example of nothing is foolproof," says Robeson County Sheriff Glenn Maynor.

Maynor says no one had ever escaped from the jail before Friday.

That's when officials say Williams made it out, not by scaling a wall or digging a tunnel, but by pretending to be another prisoner.

Maynor says the escape was well-planned and made possible by Donday Washington, the owner of DDL Bail Bonds in Raleigh. U.S. Marshals say Washington's cousin, Vashti Washington, helped too, by posting the bond.

Maynor says deputies followed the rules but got burned anyway.

"The icing on the cake was when an officer of the court, a bondsman from out of county that was making his bond, pointed at him and said 'That is who he says he is,'" says Maynor.

Investigators believe the Washington cousins agreed to help with the scam in exchange for a brand new Mercedes.

Friends of theirs at DDL Bonding say Donday and Vashti Washington are being wrongly accused.

"They just went to do a job, it's pretty stupid. They are saying he helped a guy escape. It's the jailers and magistrate's fault," says William Cassady, also a bondsman.

U.S. Marshals still looking for Williams think he may have come to Raleigh and received more help once he arrived. That could mean more arrests -- but they have to find Williams first.

Also charged in this case is the prisoner who switched identities with Williams. He was in jail on a $20,000 bond for lesser charges. Now he faces a federal charge and an extra ten years in jail.