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Daring escape caught on tape

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November 22, 2007

Moultrie -- Two Colquitt County inmates used a bench from their cell to break out. And for one of them, it's not his first escape. Jail administrators say Jason Lee Baird broke out of the Colquitt County Jail four years ago the same way.   

They call this escape a well orchestrated plan, they've gone back and listened to recorded phone calls and believe Jason Lee Baird had a car waiting for the two suspects. We also have the dramatic escape caught on jail surveillance.  

Through jail surveillance video you can see 22-year-old Jason Lee Baird and his cellmate Douglas 'D. J.' Palmer drop out of a plumbing chase and to the ground and run for the fence.  "The jailer actually found them, at 11:45, saw a sheet hung over the fence, started checking from there," said Colquitt County Sheriff's Captain Hal Suber.

Inside the cell you can see how they did it, using a 30 pound bench. Guards believe they worked for nearly eleven hours to chip this hole through the concrete wall. They went through a plumbing chase and fell 10 feet to the ground. Baird's done it before.

"He was involved in an escape, I think it was three years ago, maybe four years ago, where we had him and four other guys escape out of here," said Colquitt County Jail Operations Manager Captain Julius Cox.

Once out of the cell, the inmates ran quickly to the fence, where they threw a blanket over the razor wire, where a small piece of that blanket remains and it likely left some scars.  "It's rough going over that razor wire, I've seen them go over it before and they've been cut all to pieces," said Suber.

From there they crawled under the second fence and disappeared across the baseball field. Going back and listening to their calls, Sheriff's investigators say this was a well orchestrated plan and they had a car waiting on them.

"They were talking to people on the outside about it, escaping," said Suber.

Using dogs, investigators searched for some time and believe the suspects haven't gone far. "We searched several places in Mitchell County with the help of the Mitchell County Sheriff's office and I've got two or three investigators working on it right now," said Suber.

Jail administrators say they're frustrated because this portion of the jail constructed in 1993 was supposed to have rebar running through the walls. They plan to ask the contractor why it wasn't built properly. They think reinforced walls may have prevented this latest escape.

If Jason Lee Baird's name may sound familiar to you, we told you about him in August when he was arrested for burglarizing several businesses in Mitchell, Worth, and Tift Counties.

The other escapee, Douglas Palmer, Junior was in jail on Methamphetamine charges in from Colquitt and Dougherty Counties.  

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