The Edmond Sun

State News

September 27, 2012

Prison escape assisted by jail employee

Pontotoc County — Law enforcement officers throughout Oklahoma and the Southwest were on the lookout Wednesday for two felons who escaped from the Pontotoc County Justice Center, allegedly with the help of a jail employee.

Johnny Welborn Brown Jr., 32, and Mark David Matthews Jr., 23, were cellmates in lockdown in the secure housing area at the back of the jail when they escaped around midnight Tuesday. Jerrianna Kindrick, who had worked as a jailer at the facility since April, was arrested and charged with aiding the escape soon after it was discovered during a head count at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

"I've interviewed the jailer who was working the control room, and she admitted letting them out," Pontotoc County Sheriff John Christian said Wednesday morning. "Her story is that (Brown and Matthews) threatened her family members who work at another Oklahoma prison.

"This has been going on for about two weeks, and she never mentioned the threats so we could take action. The other jail staff was at the front of the building (at the time of the escape). Five doors have to be opened for a prisoner to escape back there, but when somebody is opening those doors for them it's not too difficult.

“I believe we have very good policies in place, but when a staff member makes a poor decision and goes rogue on you, I don't know how to get around that."

Christian admitted the escape was the result of a couple of breakdowns in procedures that all jail employees are supposed to follow. The first was by Kindrick in not reporting the alleged threats, and the second was by deputies who made visual bed checks during the night.

"(Employees) are supposed to let us know when there is a threat like this so we can take action," he said. "(Kindrick) should ABSOLUTELY have told us about this. All of us deal with threats every day.

"(The escapees) rolled their mattresses up on their beds so it looked they were there," Christian said. "Jailers are supposed to observe motion, but (the jailer on duty) didn't do that. If proper procedure that had been set forth — to see an actual movement — had been followed, the escape would have been discovered sooner.  I'm going to have to say we failed in that area."

Christian said Brown had been in jail since Jan. 31 after he was arrested on a probation violation. He was facing a laundry list of charges, including domestic abuse, armed robbery and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.  Matthews was also a repeat offender who had been an inmate at the jail since December. He was awaiting transfer to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to serve a 10-year sentence for second-degree burglary.

Brown made the only previous escape attempt from the jail (which opened in May 2010) when he tried to dig through the ceiling in a shower area this summer, Christian said.

"I don't know that they are armed, but I would consider them dangerous," Christian said.  

Investigators viewed video of the escape to determine when it occurred, and Christian said the footage left no doubt that Brown and Matthews — who were in the secure housing area because of repeated rules violations — had received help from a jail employee.

"It was obvious they were aided by somebody within the facility when we observed the video," he said.  "There are five doors back there with a touch screen on each one of them.  There are still two past the recreation area, and the first one has to close before the second one will open. This facility is awesome, but when you have staff that assists inmates, that makes it easy."

Christian said investigators could have a lead on the direction the escapees were heading after they left the jail, and information had been sent to all law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for the two men.

Anyone with information concerning the escape or the location of Brown and/or Matthews should contact the Pontotoc County Sheriff's Department at (580) 332-4169.

1
Text Only
State News
  • GooGooDolls.jpg Coming in August: The Goo Goo Dolls

    Enid Event Center books yet another big-name music attraction.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Civil War the theme at Heritage Center Family Saturday

    The event will be 1-3 p.m. Saturday and is free with admission to the museum.

    April 16, 2014

  • MS_injection well.jpg Agency clarifies earthquake-related misinformation

    A state agency says misinformation related to the debate about the cause of more earthquakes across Central Oklahoma includes oil well types, well numbers and injection pressure.
    The Prague sequence of 2011 along the Wilzetta Fault zone included a significant foreshock, a main shock of magnitude 5.7 and numerous aftershocks. It has been suggested that this sequence represents tremors triggered by fluid injection.
    More recently, earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Jones, Arcadia Lake, Edmond, Guthrie, Langston and Crescent. Regulators and scientists are working together to better understand what’s causing all the shaking.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks items for agency history project

    If you have historic pictures or artifacts related to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, the agency is asking the public to share them.
    “The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is working on a history project. If you, your family, friends or acquaintances have any old photos or artifacts related to the OCSO we would love to have them or a digital copy,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

    April 16, 2014

  • History_Tour_5_BH.jpg History tours begin May 17

    Downtown Enid will be the scene of Chisholm Trail Coalition Walking Tours

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • New study counters pot legalization argument

    A new study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences, a researcher says.
    Researchers say the findings suggest recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

    April 15, 2014

  • brisket2.jpg Food Network show visits Guthrie for ’89er Days

    Guthrie’s annual ’89er Days Celebration provides a variety of activities for people to enjoy including a carnival, rodeo, parade and lots of food vendors.
    This year, visitors at the 84th annual event, which runs Tuesday through Saturday, will notice an added bonus when a film crew from the new television series “Carnival Eats” will be in town filming for its inaugural episode.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • OCSP-Family and Treasurer-04-15-2014.jpg Treasurer Miller awards ‘Tax Day Baby’ with college savings plan

    April 15 is commonly known as the day many will spend in line at the post office or finishing final preparations for tax returns. This year, one Oklahoma family spent April 15, tax day, welcoming their new son, born at 2:07 a.m. and was recognized as the first Tax Day Baby at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. 
    As the first Tax Day Baby, State Treasurer Ken Miller, R-Edmond, awarded, Quan Ta, with an Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan worth $1,529. Miller, who serves as board chairman for the OCSP, reminds parents and grandparents that any contribution made to an OCSP account by April 15 qualified for a 2013 Oklahoma income tax deduction.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Candidate filing period ends

    From the U.S. Congress to the Oklahoma House, several incumbents are hoping to hold onto their jobs in the 2014 elections.

    April 15, 2014

  • SPICER.jpg 5 suspects face charges in Edmond home assault

    A resident was silent while he was kicked repeatedly in his ribs and head during last week’s assault in an Edmond home, court records show.
    Jenny Monroe, spokeswoman for the Edmond Police Department, said five individuals arrested in recent days appear to be the extent of the suspects in the incident. Monroe said the victim, 64, is back at home after he was transported to a metro hospital.
    The five suspects according to the Edmond Police Department and Oklahoma County records are:

    April 14, 2014 5 Photos