Escape blamed on lack of security -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Escape blamed on lack of security

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) -  Authorities hope they're close to tracking down two Ben Hill County Inmates who escaped from jail early Monday morning.

Deputies say they know where the inmates slept Monday night and just discovered fresh tracks along the Ocmulgee River.

Ben Hill County Sheriff Bobby McLemore says in the five years he's been sheriff, he's never had to deal with an escaped inmate. But shortly after midnight Monday morning, two inmates, James Villers and Dillon Spencer managed to get away, and the sheriff says a lack of security is to blame.

"This should have been discovered within 20 minutes of them getting out of that door-- in fact if our detention officers weren't doing their job they would have been in the hall and would have seen them come out the door and they would have never escaped."

Detention officers discovered they were missing 16 hours after they escaped. A farmer found their jumpsuits in a field, and when they went to lock down the jail and did a head count, authorities found out the duo had gotten away.

"They pulled a sheet up behind the lock and they pulled the sheet and that caused the lock bolt to retract backwards and they pushed the door open and got out," said the Sheriff.

Normally a detention officer is required to be standing in the hallway at all times but the coast was clear and the inmates walked down the hall to the recreation room which happened to be unlocked.

Surveillance video that shows the inmates carefully climbing up onto roof, trying to avoid sharp barbwire that lines the building. They were picked up by an unknown vehicle at an abandon house across the street. Three other inmates were in their cell at the time of the escape but they chose not to go with Spencer and Villers.

"It was rather stupid on their part because they were already sentenced to prison and now they are just adding 5 more years to their time that's why the other 3 didn't go because they knew what would happen if they got caught," said the Sheriff.

The Sheriff says one of the detention officers will be fired and the other three put on suspension.

James Villers is 25-years old, 5-11 weighs 150-pounds, with a medium build and fair complexion.

20-year old Dillon Spencer is 5-6. weighs 125 pounds and has tattoos on both arms.

If you have any information on their whereabouts call the Ben Hill County Sheriff's office at 426-5161

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