Official: 2 Fla. prisoners captured by authorities - WFLA News Channel 8

Official: 2 Fla. prisoners captured by authorities

Posted: Updated:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Two convicted killers who were freed from prison by phony documents were captured together without incident Saturday night at a Panama City motel, authorities said.
    
Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, both 34, were taken into custody about 6:40 p.m. at Coconut Grove Motor Inn. They were apprehended just a couple of hours after their family members held a news conference urging the men to turn themselves in.
    
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not immediately release any other details about their capture or investigation.
    
Jenkins was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 1998 killing and botched robbery of Roscoe Pugh, an Orlando man. It was Pugh's family that contacted the prosecutor's office earlier this week and told them Jenkins had been released, setting off a manhunt.
    
The prosecutor's office also discovered Walker had been mistakenly released. Walker was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1999 Orange County slaying of 23-year-old Cedric Slater.
    
Jenkins and Walker were both serving life sentences.
    
The bogus paperwork, complete with case numbers and a judge's forged signature, reduced their sentences to 15 years.
    
Jenkins was released Sept. 27 and Walker was set free Oct. 8.
    
Family members and friends of the men said Saturday they initially thought their release was legitimate and spent time with them, even planning a birthday party for one.
    
Three days after both men were released, they went to an Orlando jail and registered as felons, as required by law.
    
They filled out paperwork, had their photographs taken and were even fingerprinted. By doing this, authorities said they didn't raise any alarms.
    
Henry Pearson, who was described as Jenkins' father figure, said he brought Jenkins clothes when he picked him up from prison and drove him to see his mother and grandmother.
    
Pearson planned a birthday party at his home for Jenkins a few days later, but he never showed up. Jenkins turned 34 on Oct. 1.
    
Before the capture, family members pleaded with the men to turn themselves in.
    
"We love you. We believe in you. We just want you to surrender yourself to someone you trust who will bring you back here safely. We don't want any harm to come to you," said Walker's mother, Lillie Danzy.
    
Danzy said the family thought their prayers had been answered when she got the call saying Walker was being released. There wasn't time to pick him up, so he hopped a bus to central Florida.
    
Walker went to church last Sunday, and his mother said they have been cooperating with authorities and made no attempts to hide him.
    
There are still questions about who created the legitimate-looking documents that exposed gaps in Florida's judicial system.
    
In light of the errors, the Corrections Department changed the way it verifies early releases and state legislators promised to hold investigative hearings.
    
The Corrections Department said on Friday it verified the early release by checking the Orange County Clerk of Court's website and calling them.
    
Corrections Secretary Michael Crews sent a letter to judges saying prison officials will now verify with judges - and not just court clerks - before releasing prisoners early.
    
The state Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Corrections are investigating the error, but so far have not released any details.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Woman impales herself on cemetery fence; says she was running from attacker

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 2:53 PM EDT2014-07-23 18:53:18 GMT
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
    A woman claims she was running from an attacker and tried to jump a five foot fence when she became impaled. Firefighters had to use power saws and a grinding saw to cut her free, all while she was conscious. After 30 minutes she was transported to an area hospital for surgery to remove the spike sticking out of her thigh. It happened at Vine Cemetery in Hazleton. She said the nearest gate was locked. Witnesses backed...
  • Man charged with killing UNC professor had just left Wake Jail

    Man charged with killing UNC professor had just left Wake Jail

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-07-25 23:14:57 GMT
    Derick Davis II, 23 (Left) and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, (Right)Derick Davis II, 23 (Left) and Troy Arrington, Jr., 27, (Right)
    An Orange County dispatcher sounded shocked Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller described finding University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu beaten and dying on a street near the UNC campus.
    An Orange County dispatcher sounded shocked Wednesday afternoon when a 911 caller described finding University of North Carolina professor Feng Liu beaten and dying on a street near the UNC campus.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.