By Associated Press - Thursday, January 28, 2021

COOLIDGE, Ariz. (AP) - Two inmates who were the subject of a manhunt after escaping from an Arizona prison in Florence last weekend were recaptured Thursday in a cotton field in the nearby community of Coolidge, authorities said.

Coolidge police officers and U.S. deputy marshals captured David T. Harmon and John B. Charpiot after police received calls from several residents who reported seeing the inmates.

Officers who happened to be in the area working on an unrelated fugitive case and responded to the report about the two escaped prisoners.

Harmon and Charpiot were spotted by officers in a cotton field 14 miles (23 kilometers) from the prison. The inmates refused orders to get on the ground, tried to run away and were captured after officers used stun guns to subdue them, authorities said.

U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said the inmates asked the officers to kill them.

“Both of them said, ‘Just shoot me,’” Gonzales said.

A police video taken in the cotton field showed one inmate falling to the ground before his capture and the other one tackled by officers.

One inmate had blood on his face in a photo released by the police department after they were captured.

Both inmates required medical attention, Coolidge police Cmdr. Mark Tercero told the Casa Grande Dispatch.

Harmon and Charpiot had escaped Saturday from a medium-security unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex in Florence by using tools to breach a fence. Coolidge is 8 miles (14 kilometers) southwest of Florence.

Authorities are investigating where the prisoners went after escaping and state prison officials also are examining the escape occurred and how to prevent a similar breach in the future.

Frank Strada, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry, said he wasn’t aware of any information showing corrections employees helped the pair escape. No corrections employees have been suspended or fired as a result security breach.

Tercero said a local man called police to say he was following two men whom he believed were the escapees and that a woman separately called police to report that her parents’ home had just been broken into by two men who fled on foot. A third person called police to say he was chasing the men, Tercero said.

Tercero said state officials will determine whether the callers would be eligible for the $70,000 reward offered for information leading to the capture of the inmates.

Authorities looking for the inmates earlier conducted 800 door-to-door searches of homes in the area of the Florence prison.

The state Department of Public Safety said the inmates allegedly tried to rob a Florence business Saturday night before running away when a clerk screamed for help.

Harmon was imprisoned in 2012 after he was sentenced to 100 years for kidnapping and second-degree burglary in Maricopa County.

Charpiot was sent to prison in 2011 for 35 years after he was convicted in of molestation of a child and sexual abuse in Maricopa County.

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