A convict in Benton County, WA, managed to evade his armed guards, sneaked into the courtroom where he was convicted and then fled, without shoes, through the court’s front door. case, security camera footage obtained by NBC was released Thursday.
A minute after Gerald Hyde II was seen being led out of a courtroom at the Benton County Justice Center, security footage could be seen returning to the room wearing handcuffs, a prison vest and orange prison shoes. shining.
He quickly took off his shirt and used it to hide the cuffs, then snuck out through the public exit. At first, he walked calmly through the court before taking off his shoes and sprinting through the front door, passing several onlookers.
Hyde daring — and ultimately reckless — escaped in December just minutes after being convicted of methamphetamine possession.
But his audacity didn’t pay off: police tracked him down at the Pepper Tree Village apartment complex three miles away and he was taken back to prison less than two hours after running. sprint to be free.
And his brief flight from justice led to changes to court security.
Commander Jon Law of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office told NBC that Hyde managed to slip past his guards by entering a ‘blind spot’ in the hallway outside the courtroom. ‘If it’s perfect, we’ll catch it and he will’ I wasn’t able to get to that gap and blind spot. I would call it human error,’ he said.
He added that in more than 15 years, the court had handled 250,000 inmates in and out of the court, and this was the first escape he knew of.
Since then, the court has considered security measures to eliminate blind spots and now locks all courtrooms during recess.
Officials say they have also identified other security vulnerabilities that were not used in the escape and have taken measures to patch them.
‘The hope is that we’ll get 250,000 prisoners back and forth across the court in 15 years and no escapes, that’s the goal. I think it’s achievable,’ Commander Law said.
A police officer told NBC in December that Hyde was not a danger to the public during his brief run.
Sergeant Kevin McCary said: “He was a gentleman with a girlfriend out and about and wanted to go home and was in the process of trying to get there. “
He also told KEPR TV that Hyde’s escape was facilitated, in part because he was not a violent criminal. “If it was a violent offender or someone who committed a very serious crime, they would have two correctional officers with them just escorting them,” he told a reporter.