Warden speaks following fugitive search - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Warden speaks following fugitive search

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COLQUITT COUNTY, GA (WALB) - Three days after two inmates escaped from the Colquitt County Prison, the warden spoke to WALB about that prison break and how it happened.

Those escapees prompted a massive manhunt that ended with both of the men captured. They devised a plan to gain their way to freedom.

Each wing of the prison must have a fire escape in addition to a main door. The inmates broke out of the fire escape. The prisoners ran out the door after they toggled with electrical wires.

The red door was the gate to freedom for two medium security inmates Friday night, but not for long. In the 30 years Warden Billy Howell has worked here, he can't remember anyone breaking out.

"This is the first time I remember someone leaving the facility," said Warden Howell.

Howell says staff monitors a security panel around the clock. Cameras did not catch Bobby Lee Gunter and James David Miller who prevented an alert button from lighting up on the control panel as they disabled electrical cables and escaped.

The state fugitive squad, K-9 units, the Department of Corrections and sheriff's deputies tracked Gunter through a cell phone and caught him Sunday at a home on Old Adel road. They caught the other inmate, who was driving a stolen truck Saturday, in Macon.

Howell says this facility, which was built in the 1950's, is packed full with 180 inmates.

He hopes to move to a new location with a more central control room, more space for inmate dorms, and up-to-date technology. Until that day, he and his staff will work to keep this prison secure.

Both men are staying in two different secure prisons in Georgia. Prior to their arrest, they faced several felony charges, including: drug possession and burglary, and theft by taking. A third dorm mate, who was also with them at the time, will most likely face charges.

Warden Howell hopes to move the current facility to a newer prison on Spence field that tax payers have agreed to help pay for over time. That should be some time next year.

Last October, an inmate escaped from work duty. He was captured hours later.