Captured Jail Escapee Facing New Criminal Charge

By: KAKE News/Associated Press Email
By: KAKE News/Associated Press Email
Santos Carrera-Morales and Eric James

Santos Carrera-Morales and Eric James

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One the four inmates who escaped from a Kansas jail last week is facing new criminal charges.

Eric James, 22, now faces an additional carjacking charge. A new indictment issued Tuesday accuses James of assaulting a driver and stealing his car after he and three other inmates broke out of the Ottawa County jail in Minneapolis.

James was arrested Friday in Omaha. He was the last of the four escaped inmates to be captured.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The last of four inmates who escaped from a north-central Kansas county jail this week is back in custody.

The state Department of Corrections says 22-year-old Eric James was apprehended around 5:30 p.m. Friday in Omaha, Neb., and is now in the custody of Omaha police.

Details on how he was captured were not immediately released.

Authorities also recovered a stolen Nissan Altima that James was thought to have been driving.

Omaha Police noticed the Nissan and realized it was stolen. The investigation led officers to a home at 136 North 31st Avenue. James came out of the home and surrendered without incident.

James was serving a state sentence for robbery and other crimes when he and three fellow inmates escaped Wednesday morning from the Ottawa County Jail in Minneapolis, Kan., about 120 miles west of Topeka.

James and three other inmates escaped from the Ottawa County Jail early Wednesday.

Two officers took Carrera-Morales into custody without incident
after a 911 caller alerted police to a suspicious person at a
convenience store in Russell, city Police Chief Jon Quinday told
The Associated Press. Carrera-Morales told police that he hitched a
ride into the city.

"He was sitting on the side of the store," Quinday said. "He
had been given a ride there by somebody who picked him up north of
the city."

Quinday did not say if police have identified the person who
Carrera-Morales said drove him to Russell.

Carrera-Morales was convicted of two counts of first-degree
murder for the deaths of a teenager and a young man in Sedgwick
County in March 2007. Police in Wichita, where Carrera-Morales has
ties, have described him as a gang member.

One of the inmates was recaptured shortly after the escape, and
another, Drew Wade, 21, turned himself in Wednesday evening at a
Walmart in North Platte, Neb., about 240 miles northwest of the
Ottawa County jail. Authorities said Wade, serving time for robbery
and aggravated battery, was traveling in one of the stolen
vehicles, a minivan.

The Kansas Highway Patrol and state Department of Corrections
say the escaped inmates stole at least two vehicles in Minneapolis.

Highway Patrol spokesman Ben Gardner said authorities believe
they can now place James in the other stolen vehicle, a gold 2002
Nissan Altima with a Kansas license plate of 649-CIC. James was
convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping and criminal
damage in 2008.

"We still don't know where that Nissan Altima is," Gardner
said.

Corrections department spokesman Jeremy Barclay applauded the
Russell city police for their help in the arrest of
Carrera-Morales, who he said was taken straight to Ellsworth
Correctional Facility.

On Thursday, Barclay told The Associated Press that the
department was reviewing its policy on inmate transfers to Ottawa
County -- one of four county jails that accommodates prisoners from
overcrowded state facilities.
"This is an interim step while the investigation is taking
place," Barclay said.

The department said Thursday it still houses 86 male inmates in
county jails under contracts paying the counties an average of $40
a day per inmate. The state also has contracts with jails in
Butler, Cowley and Leavenworth counties, Barclay said.

County lockups must pass an inspection that includes a review of
training and facilities before it can accept state inmates. An
Ottawa County website said its jail can house 60 offenders and has
eight corrections officers on staff.

Sheriff Keith Coleman told The Associated Press Radio the
inmates used homemade knives to overpower two guards, get into the jail's control room and unlock doors.

Sending inmates to Ottawa County allowed the state to keep the
population at the Ellsworth prison, about 50 miles to the
southwest, below its capacity of 818 inmates. As of Thursday, the
state had 8,654 male inmates, exceeding its bed space by 212, or
2.5 percent.

The prison system's budget has declined in recent years as the
state has faced financial problems. But lawmakers are considering
proposals this year to increase prison space.

Barclay said the Department of Corrections has had informal,
internal discussions about undergoing more training since the
escape.


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