Escape Artist: Inmate Had Broken Out Before
Mar. 29, 1995
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ Last fall, a gang member Sebastian Eccleston escaped from a juvenile jail by scaling a 10-foot fence topped by double-edged barbed wire.
Two months later, authorities recaptured him after he led them on a 115 mph chase, wrecked a stolen van loaded with guns and ran off into the mountains. A helicopter blocked his escape from an approaching SWAT team. That was Dec. 21.
On Wednesday, the 18-year-old Eccleston was on the loose again after he and a convicted murderer used a propane torch and a bedsheet knotted into a rope to break out of the Bernalillo County jail.
``You think you've got all the holes plugged, then this happens,'' jail Director John Dantis said.
Sheriff's deputies and FBI agents searched for the two men.
Eccleston had been in jail on charges of murdering a former high school football star after a near collision in traffic.
Eccleston and Daniel Mitchem, 20, used the makeshift rope to shinny 65 feet down a ventilation shaft from their third-floor cell early Tuesday. The two fooled guards by stuffing socks with paper under their blankets to resemble sleeping bodies.
The ruse went undetected through two routine head counts, until a jail maintenance worker found the rope.
From the ventilation shaft, the two went to a maintenance area and broke into an employee's locker, jail spokesman Chuck Rees said. They raided a toolbox for the propane torch, wire cutters, a hacksaw and wrenches.
Mitchem was sentenced earlier this month to 36 years in prison for murder and other charges for shooting a 44-year-old when he refused to get out of his car during an apparent robbery attempt.