Condenado a muerte escapó de prisión

HOUSTON – Authorities launched a nationwide manhunt for a death row inmate who walked unnoticed out of a Texas county jail and began an investigation into whether he had help making the brazen escape.
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The U.S. Marshals Office on Saturday designated Charles Victor Thompson a federal fugitive and offered a $10,000 reward for his capture. Officials also alerted airports, border officials and other law enforcement agencies.
Lt. John Martin of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department said investigators had found the civilian clothing Thompson wore when he left the building. It was behind a sheriff’s department building downtown and some effort had been made to hide it, he said.
«It’s pretty clear at this point there was somebody helping him,» Martin said.
Thompson, 35, of the Houston suburb of Tomball, escaped Thursday after meeting with an attorney, though not his defense attorney of record, authorities said. He was condemned in 1999 for the shooting deaths of ex-girlfriend Dennise Hayslip, 39, and her boyfriend, Darren Keith Cain, 30.
Besides the clothing, authorities also found the fake ID badge Thompson used, which turned out to be an inmate ID card with his photograph issued by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Thompson had put a piece of tape over the part of the card that indicates he is an inmate.
Thompson was in the county jail awaiting transfer to a state prison. A jury sentenced him to death Oct. 28 after an appeals court threw out an earlier sentence.
Martin said the name of the attorney Thompson met with was not released because he is considered a witness.»We are not necessarily suggesting he was involved with the escape, but we will be speaking with everybody who had contact with Thompson,» Martin said.
After the visitor left, Thompson removed his handcuffs and his bright orange prison jumpsuit and got out of a prisoner’s booth that should have been locked. He then left wearing a dark blue shirt, khaki pants and white tennis shoes, and claiming to work for the Texas attorney general’s office.
Authorities believe the clothes were the same that Thompson wore during his sentencing. Martin said Thompson somehow smuggled them back to his cell.
Prosecutors had accused Thompson of trying to hire hitmen to kill witnesses against him as well as members of Hayslip’s family, and Martin said that members of Hayslip’s family had been given police protection.
«There is no good way to spin this,» he said. «The point is there were multiple errors on the part of our personnel. This is 100 percent human error that could have been prevented and it wasn’t.»
Cathy Lange, who served on a resentencing jury that recommended the death penalty for Thompson on Oct. 28, said she was terrified when she learned of Thompson’s escape.

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