Inmate caught under bed

October 27, 2004|EMILY BURTON

STANFORD - An escaped inmate on the lam since last week was recaptured while hiding under a bed in his mother's home Tuesday night. Richard T. Schmiers, 23, of Lincoln County, was arrested without incident after he and two other inmates escaped through a hole in the recreation area fence Friday at the Lincoln County Regional Jail. All have since been returned to custody.

At approximately 11:30 p.m., Lincoln County Jailer David Gooch, Lincoln County sheriff's deputies and state police officers surrounded the Maywood residence. They had narrowed the search for Schmiers after jail officials used jail visitation logs, Schmiers' letters from the outside and his personal file to compile a "go to list," a list of Schmiers' family and friends he could go to for support.

"I'd say we were very close to him on multiple occasions," Gooch said. Schmiers was not armed when arrested. The only weapon on his person was a pocketed pocket knife.


Schmiers will remain in the Lincoln County Regional Jail and faces charges of second-degree escape. He joins fellow escapees Benji Stout and Christopher Spoonamore.

Stout and Spoonamore were recaptured Saturday after less than a day of freedom. Their capture is being credited to local farmers who first spotted the pair in a field behind Stanford's Wal-Mart. It was Stout's third failed escape, Spoonamore's second.

With all three of their flown jail birds safely re-cooped, the recreation area has now become the focus of jail staff. Gooch said he believes the blame of the escape could, in part, be laid at the feet of the building itself.

"The design of the facility is probably the biggest factor," Gooch said. The jail's recreation area is an outdoor cinderblock pen topped by a chain-link fence and is not imbedded in the jail but sits on the outskirts of the facility.

The escapees had cut through a section of fence just outside the wide-angled sweep of security cameras and above the 12-foot cinderblock wall, said Gooch. In response, the jail is now retrofitting the pen's chain link fence with metal sheets and razor wire. The chain-link roof of the outdoor pen will also be modified to prevent items being thrown through it to inmates.

"The rec area was just not as secure as it needed to be, or as it will be by the end of the week," Gooch said.

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