Florida Cops Nab Prisoners Freed By Mistake

Officials trying to figure out what went wrong
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 20, 2013 6:38 AM CDT
Florida Cops Nab Prisoners Freed By Mistake
Lillie Danzy, left, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, standing next to attorney Rhonda Henderson, right, makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Joseph Jenkins and Charles...   (John Raoux)

Police recaptured two convicted killers who were freed from a Florida prison by phony documents, and authorities shifted attention to finding out who was responsible for the mistaken releases that rocked the state's judicial system. Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, both 34, were captured last night without incident at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn in Panama City Beach, a touristy area of putt-putt courses and go-kart tracks. Hours earlier, their families had held a news conference urging them to surrender. "Now that we have them in custody, we're hoping to get something from the interviews with them," Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey said.

Jenkins and Walker were both serving life sentences at the Franklin Correctional Facility before they walked free without anyone realizing the paperwork, complete with case numbers and a judge's forged signature, was bogus. The documents seemingly reduced their life sentences to 15 years. Walker had been in prison since his conviction of second-degree murder in the 1999 Orange County slaying of 23-year-old Cedric Slater. Like Jenkins, he registered at the Orange County jail three days after his release without raising any alarms. He knocked around town and went to church last Sunday. But at some point, he and Jenkins went underground. (Read more Florida stories.)

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