OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska prosecutors levied a barrage of charges Tuesday against an inmate accused of killing a sheriff's deputy while escaping from an Iowa jail, but investigators said the real hope is to have him quickly sent back to Iowa to face more serious charges.
Wesley Correa-Carmenaty, 24, also is accused of injuring another deputy and fleeing the state in a stolen jail van after his Monday escape. He is set to appear in a jailhouse court on Wednesday in Omaha to face charges of kidnapping and other charges in in Nebraska, according to Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine.
But Kleine, the Omaha area's top prosecutor, said he was willing to drop the Nebraska charges if Correa-Carmenaty agrees to be extradited to Iowa to face charges — including first-degree murder and attempted murder — in the shooting death of Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Burbridge.
"I spoke to the county attorney in Iowa yesterday and told him we would defer to them, obviously," Kleine said Tuesday.
"The mood across the river was pretty somber," Kleine added, referring to the section of the Missouri River that serves as the Iowa-Nebraska border in the area. "Our heart goes out to everyone in Pottawattamie County."
Two deputies were transporting Correa-Carmenaty back to the Pottawattamie County Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Monday after he was sentenced to 45 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder in a separate case. But as the deputies tried to move Correa-Carmenaty into the jail, he assaulted both of them and grabbed one of their guns.
Both deputies were shot, according to investigators. The 43-year-old Burbridge, a 12-year veteran of the sheriff's office, died shortly after being shot. The other deputy, 10-year veteran Pat Morgan, is expected to survive.
Correa-Carmenaty commandeered the transport van after the shootings, driving through a closed garage door at the jail around 11 a.m. Monday. He abandoned the van in Council Bluffs and tried to carjack a pickup truck. Investigators said he shot one of the truck's passengers, who is expected to recover.
Correa-Carmenaty then carjacked a 31-year-old woman at gunpoint and drove over the Missouri River into Omaha, Nebraska, where he dropped the woman off unharmed at a liquor store, authorities said. He was recaptured in Omaha after crashing during a high-speed chase with police.
Kleine said Tuesday that if Correa-Carmenaty waives extradition on Wednesday, he will be taken back to Iowa within days.
If he refuses, the governors of Nebraska and Iowa will need to sign warrants agreeing to the extradition. That process can take up to 60 days to complete, Kleine said.
Iowa's Pottawattamie County prosecutors indicated they preferred to pursue their charges, which also include kidnapping. Additional charges could still be filed in Iowa, prosecutors said.