- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) - Muskogee authorities say two inmates were able to escape from the Muskogee County/City Detention Facility because a guard failed to follow procedure.

Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson said Tuesday that the escape could have been prevented if the guard had looked inside the inmates’ cells during checks late Sunday. The guard had pressed his ear to the cell door instead of conducting a visual check.

The Muskogee Phoenix (https://bit.ly/1Yh3dvH ) reports that 24-year-old Paul Newberry and 36-year-old Raymond Noriega Jr., escaped by breaking through a window when the guard was doing checks.

“(Noriega and Newberry) were beyond the point of no return, had he just looked in it could’ve been stopped,” Pearson said.

Noriega was caught Monday. He had been in the Oklahoma facility on charges of resisting arrest and receiving stolen property and fraud.

Texas authorities say Newberry was caught at a truck stop in Jarrell (JEHR’-uhl), Texas, 30 miles north of Austin. Authorities say he stole a semi-trailer truck parked at a Fairfield Inn.

Newberry is being held in the Muskogee jail on a murder charge. Local authorities are working on having Newberry extradited.

Pearson said the guard has been suspended and is facing the possibility of termination.

Authorities say that the jail will implement several changes to tighten security. Pearson said the jail windows will be welded, cell checks will now require two guards to sign off and all of the cell beds and tables will be checked.

“This is all on me,” Pearson said. “We have to face the responsibility brought by our inaction.”


Information from: Muskogee Phoenix, https://www.muskogeephoenix.com

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