Seven of the thirteen prisoners who broke out of the Lusignan Prison, walled area, on Sunday last were on Wednesday charged with escaping from lawful custody when they appeared before Magistrate Peter Hugh at the Cove and John Magistrates’ Court.
Jamal Joseph, Jamal Force and Winston Long plead guilty to the charge when it was read to them and they were sentenced to 1 year imprisonment each.
However, Teshawn McKenzie, Odel Roberts, Rayon Jones and Jason Howard pleaded not guilty, while maintaining that they escaped from a “pasture” and not a “prison.” The men said that the conditions of the swampy area in the compound of the Lusignan Prison forced them to take the drastic measure of escaping.
The case was adjourned until next month when the four are expected to appear at the Vigilance Magistrate’s court.
Following the July 9th, 2017, Camp Street fire, over 1,000 prisoners were relocated to the Lusignan walled area. However, hundreds were subsequently transferred to other penitentiaries countrywide, while hundreds more were moved to a better holding facility in Lusignan.
A remainder of 99 hardened inmates dubbed by the Public Security Minister as the “real bad ones” were kept at the swampy area. However, on Sunday evening, thirteen of them escaped from a tunnel which had been dug under the prison walls.
A man hunt was launched and on Monday, Police apprehended Long, McKenzie, Howard and Joseph in Georgetown, while Roberts, Forde and Jones were arrested on the East Coast Demerara.
On Wednesday evening, another escapee was recaptured in Linden. He was identified as Kendall Skeete.
Police are still hunting for the remaining five Lusignan escapees in addition to the four inmates who escaped from Camp Street during the fire and staged attack on correctional officers.
The remaining “real bad” inmates have since been transferred to the Brick facility in the Camp Street prison that had been renovated to house approximately 150 prisoners.
The wanted fugitives, now 9 in all, are Clive Forde, Shawn Harris, Kerry Cromwell, Pascal Smith,Paul Goriah, Mark Durant Williams, Uree Varswyck, Stafrei Hopkinson Alexander, and Cobena Stephens.
Meanwhile, the Melanie Damishana resident who was reportedly mistaken for an escapee on Tuesday afternoon and was shot by the police has since succumbed to his injuries.
Charles Peters, a father of two, reportedly died at around 01:00hrs on Wednesday.
Police reports indicate that Peters was seen acting in a suspicious manner and after being approached by law enforcement officials, he attacked them physically. As such, he was shot once to arm and then leg.
An investigation is ongoing.