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280 Winchester Dr.
Hamilton, AL 35570

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08/01/2018

Three escape after assaulting jailor
Three escape after assaulting jailor
 
• Inmates each now held on $1.9 million bond
 
Cameron, Leslie.JPG          Green, Thomas.JPG          Spain, Christopher COle.JPG
            Cameron                              Green                                    Spain
 
Article contributed by The Journal Record
 
By SCOTT JOHNSON
Staff Writer
 
HAMILTON - Three inmates escaped from the Marion County Jail in Hamilton early Thursday morning, July 26, after assaulting a lone jailor and stealing his keys.
 
Thomas Joe Green, 31, Joiner, Ark., Leslie Dewayne Cameron 39, Phil Campbell, and Christopher Cole Spain, 19, Jasper, were all recaptured after being on the lam for eight hours.
 
They are now facing charges of first-degree assault of a correctional officer, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, third- and fourth-degree theft of property and breaking and entering a vehicle.
25th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Daryl Burt has set the bond amounts for the new charges in the amount of $1.9 million each.
 
Sheriff releases footage of escape
 
Marion County Sheriff Kevin Williams told the Journal Record that there was only one jailor on duty when the escape occurred.
At approximately 2 a.m., a county jailor was returning Cameron and Spain to an isolation cell where both were being held together for security measures.
 
Williams said that those being held in isolation are allowed out of their cells late at night to shower when the regular population is on lockdown.
 
Thursday afternoon, the sheriff released surveillance footage from the jail’s back-hallway camera.
 
The minute-long video shows the moment the two inmates assault the jailor while his back is turned as he opens their cell door.
 
Cameron is seen grabbing the jailor around his neck while Spain simultaneously grabs the officer’s taser.
 
Spain is shown shooting the jailor with the taser and disabling him. The two inmates then drag him into the cell and close the door.
 
Williams said that the two inmates took the taser, the jail keys and the jailor’s money clip.  The officer was in the cell for about five to six minutes before receiving aid.
 
The sheriff said that the jailor is okay and only sustained a minor injury to his wrist where he was hit by one of the taser’s prongs.
 
The two inmates then proceeded to another cell block, where they released Green from his cell. All three exited out the back door of the jail and climbed over the north fence.
 
Williams said that all three received several minor cuts from the razor concertina wire while climbing over. Green incurred a severe cut on his leg.
 
The three then searched the jailor’s truck parked outside and searched for the keys. Unable to find  them, they stole a knife from the truck and ran east.
 
By 2:15 a.m., Williams said that his officers were on-site along with a number of officers from local assisting agencies and they began searching.
 
The sheriff called William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, requesting the help of their search dogs. They were in Hamilton joining the search by 4 a.m.
 
Two helicopters were also requested to aid in the search, but there were not able to get into the air until later in the morning.
 
The dogs were able to track the inmates through the nearby area and picked up their scent from a trail of blood the sheriff presumes to have been Green’s.
 
Williams explained the inmates’ route was sporadic and they travelled around the Marion County Rankin-Fite Airport area before crossing the nearby soybean fields and came to Steele Street.
 
According to the sheriff, the escapees attempted to break into a residence there by breaking the glass on a back window. However, they were not able to gain access.
 
Unknowingly helping an escapee
Leon Enlow, 82, told the Journal Record that he was swept up into the situation when he heard a knock on his door at 6:30 a.m.
 
Enlow said that he was having his morning coffee when an unknown man appeared at his doorstep at his residence on Steele Street, where he and his wife, Mahalia, live.
 
Enlow did not know about the early-morning jailbreak and did not realize the man was one of the three escapees--Cameron.
 
“He told me that he was in an accident and needed a ride to his dad’s house in Haleyville,” Enlow said.
 
Cameron gave Enlow a number of justifications about his situation and refused an offer to have a wrecker called.
 
Enlow said that he had a swollen ankle and was limping.
 
“I just took his word for it,” Enlow laughed.
 
Williams said that Cameron was injured sometime during the escape, but it wasn’t clear if it was from jumping over the fence or sometime while on the run.
 
The Hamilton resident drove Cameron for about 40 minutes in the Haleyville area, taking him as far as State Highway 5 near the Natural Bridge-area.
 
“He never threatened me or swore at all the whole drive,” Enlow said. “I don’t know what would have happened if he had started to get violent. I think I could have hit him over the head, though.”
 
Enlow said that his son is a former correctional officer and he called his mother (Mahalia) when he heard about the breakout.
 
“He told her that she needed to lock the doors. She told him that I had already left with someone,” Enlow recounted.
 
His wife then called dispatch to report the situation. Williams was given Enlow’s phone number and was able to get in contact with him.
Over the phone, Williams updated Enlow about the situation while Cameron was in the passenger seat. 
 
Williams said that he asked Enlow to subtlely give him information about where he was driving so he could determine their location.
 
“I gave him a few landmarks and road names and I told the sheriff the man was right there with me. I said, ‘You want to talk to him?’ then I handed the phone over to him (Cameron),” Enlow said.
 
Williams said that he did not expect to be put on the phone with Cameron and was actually trying to be as discrete as possible to avoid the escapee from discovering that Enlow was speaking with the sheriff and possibly becoming violent.
 
Once on the phone, Williams said that he did not identify himself to Cameron, but instead tried to act like he was wanting to help him with his wrecked vehicle.
 
The phone then abruptly went dead during and Williams said that he was fearful Cameron had caught on and would possibly hurt Leon.
 
“After the phone call, he (Cameron) was ready to get out of the car and pointed to a house alongside (Highway) 129,” Enlow described in detail.
 
Cameron got out of the car and headed to a house, but instead of going inside, headed around the house and into the nearby woods.
By this time, Williams had called Enlow back and asked him to stay where he was until law enforcement arrived. 
 
Williams said that Alabama State Troopers were the first to arrive  on the scene and Haleyville Police Department and a Marion County Sheriff‘s deputy arrived shortly thereafter. 
 
Cameron was back in custody in about 30 minutes, captured in the woods near the intersection of State Highway 129 and County Road 19 at 9:03 a.m., about 19 miles east of the county jail.
 
Green, Spain found on Steele Street
The sheriff said that he didn’t know why Cameron separated from the other two, though he suspects that Green’s injuries were a factor.
 
Spain and Green were apprehended near 4032 Steele Street in Hamilton at 9:51 a.m., less than a mile away west of the jail.
 
The sheriff said that law enforcement tracked the inmates to Steele Street and then hit an apparent deadend.
 
He said law enforcement searched the area for a time before the dogs found a spot of blood and alerted officers to some hedge bushes across the road from Enlow’s house where they found Green and Spain hiding.
 
The taser, the knife and the keys were not found on the men.
All three inmates were back in custody at the county jail at 10:10 a.m.
 
The sheriff said that Green was then taken to the North Mississippi Medical Center-Hamilton  Emergency Room for two hours to be treated for his injuries. He lost a large amount of blood from the cut on his leg and was dehydrated.
 
Doctors there determined that he needed to be transferred to another facility for treatment and Green was taken to Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital in Florence, where he was given a blood transfusion and held in intensive care. He is in stable condition and being watched by one of William’s part-time deputies.
 
Williams released a statement following the recapture of the escapees:
 
“I would like to extend my gratitude to all the law enforcement agencies that assisted my department in the search for these inmates.
 
“I commend the K-9s and their handlers from the Alabama Department of Corrections and appreciate their efforts in apprehending these inmates today.
 
“Also, I am very appreciative for all the phone calls and tips from the local citizens, that acted as additional eyes in today’s search.”
 
Spain was one of the 12 infamous Jasper ‘peanut butter’ escapees
Spain was one of a dozen inmates involved in the late-July 2017 “peanut butter” escape from the Walker County Jail in Jasper.
 
According to press reports, the inmates used peanut butter to cover the cell door numbers to trick a newly-hired correctional officer to opening an exit door.
 
Spain and all the other inmates were recaptured fairly quickly.
 
Spain has been in custody at the county jail since he was arrested in September 2017.
 
He is facing local charges of first- and second-degree theft of property, first-degree criminal mischief and breaking and entering a vehicle.
 
Green part of May escape
Green was arrested in April for first-degree rape and was being held in the county jail on a bond of $250,000.
 
According to Williams, Green is being  accused of raping his girlfriend’s daughter, who was under the age of 16. 
 
The inmate also faced second-degree escape charges from an escape attempt only two months ago.
 
Green made headlines in May when he escaped from the county jail on coincidently the same night a state inmate, David Curtis Wood, escaped from the Hamilton Aged and Infirm Correctional Facility.
 
On May 21, Wood reportedly escaped in only his state-issued boxer underwear and stole the 1994 blue Mercury Grand Marquis courtesy car from the adjacent Marion County Rankin-Fite Airport.
 
The car was later recovered in D’Iberville, Miss., in June.
 
The same night, Green escaped after claiming to feel sick and requesting for the shift officer to check his blood sugar. 
 
After the officer checked Green’s blood sugar, Green allegedly ran out of his cell and out the back door. 
 
The backdoor was  left open to allow more air circulation in the building due to the air conditioning system not being able to cool the overcrowded facility, which was opened in 1979 for 86 inmates.
 
In previous reports, Williams has said that the jail regularly has more than 100 inmates to house.
 
Green then climbed the fence in the backyard and ran into the woods behind the adjacent airport.
 
Green was recaptured  after the sheriff’s department received a tip  reporting a man matching Green’s description walking behind the Bedford Industrial Park in Hamilton, which houses Sitel and the Department of Human Resources.
 
Leslie Cameron
Cameron has been in  in custody since March for attempting to elude arrest and providing a false ID and was held at the jail on a bond of $4,000.
 
According to arrest reports, Cameron has an extensive criminal history throughout Northwest Alabama for drug-related crimes.
 
(When a defendant is charged with a crime, the charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.)
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