Reporting Bud Gillett
SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A capital murder suspect and a convicted drug offender who escaped from an East Texas jail were captured Thursday, two days after they slipped past a fence only to be found in a neighboring county to the north.
Brian Allen Tucker and John Marlin King were captured in the town of Cooper, said Hopkins County sheriff’s Deputy Alvin Jordan. They were returned to the Hopkins County Jail in Sulphur Springs.
Sheriff’s officials said the inmates fled the jail Tuesday by scaling a fence or slipping through a gap in a perimeter fence in Sulphur Springs, about 75 miles northeast of Dallas. Officials said a maintenance person noticed a problem with the fence around a recreation yard used by female inmates. Hours later, deputies and other law enforcement were searching the woods and area east and northeast of the jail.
The men were found Thursday just 20 miles north of the jail, holed up in a barn behind a house, said Scott Cass, sheriff from nearby Lamar County, which helped in the capture. The black SUV the men stole in Sulphur Springs on Wednesday was located a couple of blocks away from where the men were found.
Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams says a task force of about 30 people surprised the escapees, but no one was hurt as they were taken into custody.
The escapees were staying in an attic behind a house, likely since last night, according to the Delta County Sheriff.
“The first one just walked out and surrendered,” said Delta County Sheriff Ricky Smith. “The second one hid out in the house.”
It was capital murder suspect Brian Tucker who gave up first. John King was fished out of the attic. The suspects were tracked down after selling some jewelry in nearby Commerce, which was taken from inside the stolen SUV.
One man living at the Cooper home was arrested for hindering apprehension. Two others there were questioned and released.
“I’m more relieved in the fact that I don’t have to worry about something else happening to a citizen of my county or any other county,” said Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams.
Carmen Crouse, the wife of an unidentified task force member, said she’s happy the capture ended this way. “We were all just very relieved. We can all sleep tonight. My kids can sleep, and it’s been a long journey the last two days,” she said.
Tucker was being held on $1 million bond in the 2011 death of Bobby Riley of Mahoney. Riley was found strangled in his home and some music instruments and firearms had been stolen. Jury selection in his murder trial was set to begin June 3. He previously was convicted of burglary and driving while intoxicated, and has been arrested several times for violating parole.
King was being held on several charges, including evading arrest, burglary and possession of a controlled substance. According to court documents, he pleaded guilty last month to the possession charge as a habitual offender and received a sentence of 40 years in prison.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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