- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

KITTANNING, Pa. (AP) - A county jail warden is resigning after the escape of an inmate who is charged with killing a woman while he was on the run.

The Armstrong County Prison Board on Thursday announced David Hogue’s resignation. The resignation is effective Nov. 12, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported.

The resignation comes less than two weeks after District Attorney Scott Andreassi recommended sweeping reforms following Robert Crissman’s July 30 escape from the jail in Kittanning, about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The 38-year-old inmate was a member of the trusties program that allowed him to walk outside to get breakfast trays for other inmates before he took off. He is accused of beating and strangling an acquaintance, 55-year-old Tammy Long, shortly after his escape.

Crissman’s lawyer, Charles Pascal Jr., has praised the report calling for reforms but has declined to speak specifically about the charges Crissman faces. Crissman remains jailed in a neighboring county awaiting trial.

Hogue had been suspended without pay since August, but county officials said that was done primarily so Andreassi’s investigation and another by a private contractor could review the jail’s policies without the appearance of bias or interference.

Rich Fink, a county commissioner and prison board chairman, told the (Kittanning) Leader-Times that Hogue wasn’t pressured to resign and that the board hadn’t planned to fire him.

Hogue “could’ve returned to the job with a little management training,” Fink said. “He could’ve returned to run an effective jail.”

Hogue, a 31-year jail employee who’s been the warden since 2006, could not be immediately reached for comment.

The prison board has received the private contractor’s report but doesn’t expect to release it publicly until next week.

Andreassi wants changes to the trusties program and more staffing during the midnight to 8 a.m. shift when Crissman escaped. He also noted that the jail had a reputation for being lax.

But much of his report centered on the fact that Crissman was jailed on a parole violation for a drug conviction and told authorities he had used heroin shortly before his arrest, which occurred a few days before he escaped.

Despite that, Andreassi found that Crissman wasn’t tested for drugs or given the recommended three-day detox. Instead, he was placed in a cell, where cellmates and guards said it appeared Crissman was still in withdrawal, the report said.

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