Local News

Six caught in third inmate escape in Edgecombe

Posted August 24, 2009 5:19 a.m. EDT
Updated August 24, 2009 8:26 a.m. EDT

— Six juvenile inmates were recaptured early Monday after making the third successful escape from a detention facility in Edgecombe County this year.

Sheriff James Knight said the inmates, all aged 16 and 17, overpowered two guards to escape from the Edgecombe County Detention Center Annex, 301 Saint Andrews St., around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. They pinned one guard against the bars of their cell and took his keys, the sheriff said.

Five of the inmates were recaptured within an hour, and the sixth was caught shortly before 4 a.m., Knight said. They were placed in the Edgecombe County Detention Center on Anaconda Street, about 4 miles from the annex.

The guards suffered minor injuries and were expected to be OK.

The identity of the escapees hasn't been released.

The annex, which is in the county courthouse, houses suspects between the ages of 15 and 21. It can hold up to 95 inmates, while the detention center can house up to 255 inmates.

Knight said escapes from both facilities during one week in April led to security upgrades at the detention center, including additional barbed wire, cameras and alarms. The sheriff's office has been studying making upgrades at the annex, as well, he said.

On April 18, Chamone Coy Diggins, 17, overpowered a guard to escape from the annex. Diggins was recaptured about a day later in Farmville, about 25 miles away.

Two days before Diggins' escape, three inmates – David Lee Cox, 29, of Fayetteville; Anthony Artrip, 37, of Ashland, Ky.; and James Butler, 38, of Raleigh – escaped from the detention center. They, too, were recaptured about a day later after a bank robbery in Marmet, W. Va.

A federal indictment for Butler says the three pried up iron rods bolting down a bunk bed and then used the bed to break open a fire door. Once outside, they used the bed as a ladder to climb the fence and covered the razor wire with the mattress.

The sheriff's office opened internal investigations into both escapes.