Escaped Florida Inmates Arrested In Panama City Hotel
Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins are back in the bingski…
Florida authorities on Saturday evening arrested two convicted murderers who had been on the lam after being released from prison with forged documents, a state agency said. Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins were taken into custody “without incident” at 6:40 p.m. at Panama City’s Coconut Grove Motor Inn, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said. Members of that agency and the U.S. Marshals Service found and detained the two men, the agency said.
Walker and Jenkins are expected to appear in court Sunday morning at the Bay County Courthouse in Panama City. The state Department of Corrections — which mistakenly released the men though it has insisted through no fault of its own — said little about the arrests.
“We are, of course, happy they have been taken into custody,” agency spokeswoman Jessica Carey said. Authorities have been searching for Walker and Jenkins, both 34, after investigators discovered forged motions to reduce their respective sentences and forged court orders granting the requests.
Earlier Saturday, family members of both men appealed for them to turn themselves in to authorities. “We just want you to surrender yourself to someone you trust who will bring you back in safely,” Walker’s mother, Lillie Danzy, said at a news conference outside the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Orlando.
Jenkins’ uncle, Henry Pearson, also urged the men to give their families some peace. Both families denied any knowledge in the escape plan, telling investigators and reporters they first learned of the releases in telephone calls from the Franklin Correctional Institution with news they could pick up their family member.
The two men, according to family members, disappeared shortly after their return. In September 1998, Jenkins killed Roscoe Pugh Jr. during a home-invasion robbery attempt. Six months later, Cedric Slater was gunned down on an Orlando street corner — shot dead, a jury determined, by Walker.
Both killers were convicted and sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole within two years of their crime. While it’s not known whether they knew each other, they were at the same prison in North Carrabelle in Florida’s Panhandle.
Jenkins left there on September 27, and Walker left on October 8, according to authorities. They had motions indicating the sentences had been reduced as well as court orders granting the request. Investigators later discovered these documents were forged.
The legal-looking documents contained bogus reproductions of several key players’ signatures, including those of the Orlando-area State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton or the assistant state attorney and Judge Belvin Perry. They bore the seal of the Orange County clerk of court’s office.
CNN/Bay County Sheriff