Two Kentucky prisoners captured after failed jail escape

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 22, 2015 6:48 PM

By Steve Bittenbender

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) - Two men in custody on minor offenses used bed sheets to escape a Kentucky jail late on Monday and were recaptured within hours, one with broken bones, officials said on Tuesday.

Christopher Cornelius, 37, and Matthew William Johnson, 29, climbed through a ceiling tile in a pedestrian walkway to get to the roof at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections jail on Monday night while part of a cleaning detail, officials said.

A nurse working at a nearby hospital saw one of the escapees climbing down from the fourth floor and it appeared the sheets separated about halfway down during the escape attempt, Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton said.

Cornelius was recaptured on the jail roof early Tuesday and Johnson was found about nine hours after the escape and 15 miles away, according to Louisville television station WDRB. Bolton said Johnson was being treated at a local hospital for fractures to an ankle and vertebrae.

Cornelius, who was scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, and Johnson are both charged with second-degree escape, a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Before the failed escape, both men were in jail for drug and non-support charges.

"They weren't looking at a whole lot of time," Bolton said.

(Reporting by Steve Bittenbender in Louisville; Editing by David Bailey and Diane Craft)