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Archive for Wednesday, October 25, 1995

FUGITIVE BACK WHERE HE STARTED

October 25, 1995

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Chad Beers could face additional state and federal charges because of his escape last weekend from a county jail in Arkansas.

Former Lawrence resident Chad Beers spent his first full day back in confinement Tuesday as prosecutors in two states waited for the information they need to file additional charges against him.

Beers, who escaped Saturday from the Washington County Jail in Fayetteville, Ark., was transported back to that facility about 2 a.m. following his arrest in Watts, Okla., a small community about 35 miles west of Fayetteville.

At the time of his escape, Beers was awaiting a federal trial at Fort Smith, Ark., on charges stemming from a 1994 escape from the Sebastian County Jail, there. At the time of the 1994 escape, he was awaiting transfer to a federal prison in El Reno, Okla., to begin serving a 14-year prison sentence for the kidnapping of an elderly Clarksville, Ark., man.

On Oct. 1, 1993, Beers was arrested in Lawrence for the armed robbery of a grocery store. He escaped four days after that arrest as a Douglas County Sheriff's deputy was returning him to jail from a local doctor's office.

Washington County (Ark.) Sheriff Kenneth McKee said the 25-year-old Beers encountered slightly different surroundings when he returned to the jail.

"Right now he's in a private cell," McKee said. "He's in a maximum security cell. He's not going anywhere. Before, he was in with the population of people who were actually waiting to go to the penitentiary."

McKee said another change Beers will encounter at the jail is increased security during times he is allowed into the jail's exercise yard. He said Beers' legs will be shackled when he is outside.

Beers escaped from the jail by using a rope fashioned from sheets and clothing and a hook made from a bucket handle to scale the 22-foot wall that surrounds the exercise yard.

McKee said an investigation into the escape was continuing. He said investigators have identified a male inmate who assisted Beers in the escape.

The sheriff said Beers made no comments about the escape during a brief conversation Tuesday morning.

"He didn't have much to say," McKee said. "He hadn't had anything to eat in a couple of days. He was pretty scratched up from running through the brush and the thorns."

Authorities said after Beers scaled the exercise yard wall, he attacked a Fayetteville woman and stole her car. He later wrecked her 1973 Ford and fled on foot.

Shortly before his arrest, Beers allegedly attacked and beat a young woman who was riding a bicycle on a dirt road near the Watts, Okla., rodeo arena. He then allegedly stole her bicycle.

Spokeswomen in both the Prosecuting Attorney's Office in Fayetteville, Ark., and the Assistant District Attorney's Office in Stillwell, Okla., said investigative reports on both those incidents have yet to be received.

Bill Cromwell, first assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, in Ft. Smith, said information about Beers' escape from the Washington County Jail would be presented to a grand jury that is scheduled to convene on Nov. 28.

If indicted and convicted on a federal escape from custody charge, Beers would receive an additional five-year sentence in a federal penitentiary, Cromwell said.

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