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County jail escapee caught a day later

The federal inmate is captured after he drives a stolen school district car to Davie. Two others attempt to escape Sunday.

By JAMIE JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published November 6, 2002


BROOKSVILLE -- A federal inmate who escaped from the Hernando County Jail on Sunday was captured near Fort Lauderdale on Monday, authorities said.

Nelson Pierre Georges, 29, a Haitian immigrant, stole a school district car and drove to Davie, where he was arrested, authorities said.

Also, two other inmates tried unsuccessfully to escape through a hole in the jail's ceiling on Sunday.

"Alcatraz was supposed to be an escape-free facility," said warden Kevin Watson. He said he is conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

Georges was in custody on charges of stealing a car, a probation violation, authorities said. He had been put in the Hernando County Jail by the U.S. Marshals Service on Oct. 28.

Authorities said he climbed a 20-foot sprinkler pipe and reached an air duct, which led him to the roof of the jail on Sunday. From there, he climbed down a razor wire fence and left the property. Authorities do not know precisely when he escaped but noticed he was missing during a 4:30 a.m. count.

Authorities believe Georges walked to a school bus compound nearby and slipped through an unlocked window.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said he stole computer equipment and found the keys to a 2000 white Chevrolet Blazer owned by the Hernando County School Board.

Georges then smashed the car through two locked chain-link gates and headed east, authorities said.

At about 5 p.m. on Monday, Georges went into a store in Davie, near Fort Lauderdale, and asked to use the phone, authorities said. A shop owner got suspicious because he was in a car with a broken windshield and called the Davie Police Department.

When an officer arrived, Georges ran into the woods, authorities said. He was captured by a police dog, which bit him on the leg, authorities said.

Georges on Tuesday was recovering in a hospital and will be turned over to federal agents, authorities said.

Records show that Georges, who previously lived in Miami, had been charged with making a false statement on an application for a passport and with falsely representing himself as a citizen.

He had been flagged as a flight risk at the Hernando County Jail because he had previously escaped from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, records show.

Warden Kevin Watson declined to discuss the escape, as did a spokesman for Corrections Corporation of America, which runs the county jail. Both referred all questions to their "customer," the U.S. Marshals Service, which would provide no information.

The federal agency pays the jail for housing its inmates.

Two other inmates attempted an escape from the jail on Sunday night.

Michael Leahy, 19, charged with murder in the September slaying of a 28-year-old Brooksville man in a city park, and Keith Carpentier, 23, charged with two counts of lewd behavior on a child under 16, tried to escape through a hole in the ceiling, authorities said.

Carpentier left a note under his pillow saying that CCA would look stupid having two high-risk inmates escape from jail less than 24 hours after another inmate escaped.

Carpentier said he was only following the voices in his head, telling him to leave, authorities said.

Their attempt was foiled by a guard who thought they were acting suspicious and went into the cell for a check.

Authorities said they wrapped a metal cleaning tool in an ankle sock and chipped a hole in the ceiling.

Warden Watson said they were "not even close" to getting out.

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