- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 4, 2006

One of two inmates who escaped from the D.C. Jail, then caught a Metro shuttle to flee was captured early yesterday in an Alexandria motel.

A task force including U.S. marshals captured Joseph Leaks, 32, of Northeast, at the Virginia Lodge in the 6000 block of Richmond Highway.

Authorities continued to search for Ricardo Jones, 25.

The men were awaiting trial in connection with the shooting death of David Valentine last summer.

They escaped Saturday morning by breaking into a second-story administrative office of the jail, smashing through reinforced glass, then jumping onto a canopy before catching the shuttle bus to the Minnesota Avenue Metro station.

“All of the glass at the jail is security-level,” D.C. Department of Corrections Commissioner Devon Brown said Saturday. “It takes some force to penetrate it.”

A guard chased the men to the Stadium-Armory Metrorail Station, where they eluded capture.

Jim Werking, an inspector with the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, said Leaks was caught at about 2 a.m. yesterday.

He would not discuss details of the manhunt but said Leaks and Jones had planned their escape.

The two are wanted in Greensboro, N.C., in connection with a shooting in August of a security guard, authorities said.

Mr. Valentine was shot July 6 in front of Leaks’ residence in the 1200 block of Meigs Place in Northeast.

Police said the incident started when Leaks brandished a handgun at Mr. Valentine and another person as they were walking past Leaks’ home, then an argument ensued. Jones is accused of shooting Mr. Valentine and is charged with first-degree murder. Leaks, also known as Joseph Poindexter, is charged with being an accessory after the fact, court documents show.

The jailbreak has raised questions about whether the facility’s siren system to alert neighbors was working properly.

Wilbert Hill, an advisory neighborhood commissioner who lives about five blocks from the Southeast jail, said he and others in the area did not hear the sirens.

“I think they should have some way of notifying residents of a prison break,” Mr. Hill said.

D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 Democrat, represents the area near the jail. She said Mr. Brown told her Saturday that the sirens were working.

However, Mrs. Ambrose said, many residents couldn’t hear them.

“In the past, we have had problems with the sirens not being loud enough, and I thought that had been taken care of,” she said.

Beverly Young, a spokeswoman for the jail, said preliminary reports indicate that sirens sounded but that officials were investigating whether the alarms were loud enough.

“The entire incident is under investigation,” she said.

At a briefing Saturday, Mr. Brown said any culpability on the part of his staff would result in “severe” discipline.

Mr. Werking would not comment on the progress of efforts to find Jones. Mrs. Ambrose said she was told yesterday that authorities were “fairly optimistic” about finding the inmate.

Leaks is in the Alexandria Jail pending extradition to the D.C. Jail, which remained on lockdown yesterday.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Jones is asked to call the task force at 202/682-6061.


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