Criminal Justice

Captured: 2 murderers released from jail on phony court orders; probe now focused on who helped them


Two convicted murderers who walked away from a Florida prison in recent weeks with the help of phony court paperwork reducing their “illegal” sentences were captured over the weekend.

Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, both 34, were found together at a motel in Panama City, where they were waiting for transport to Atlanta, said Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey at a Sunday press conference. He said a “close associate” led authorities to the two men, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

Chief Frank Chiumento of the U.S. Marshals Service for Florida and the Caribbean said the two prisoners got together after news of their escape became public and went together from Orlando to Panama City, reports the Associated Press.

Now that the two have been found, an investigation continues into exactly how forged court paperwork that authorized their release from prison was created. Bailey said there is “speculation” that someone has been selling forged court paperwork for $8,000. The two men had to have had help, Bailey said, promising that more arrests would be forthcoming.

He also said authorities “will be backtracking to those who helped carry out this fraud and along the way we will be looking closely at anyone who may have helped harbor these fugitives.” However, family members publicly rejoiced over what they thought was a legitimate release, having been notified by the prison system that the two had been let out, according to the AP and CNN.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Prosecutor calls bogus court papers used in murderers’ prison escape an ‘ongoing threat’”

The Pulp (Broward-Palm Beach New Times): “Florida Prisoners Mistakenly Freed Caught in Panama City”

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