Trial date set for man in courthouse escape attempt

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WALLA WALLA — A man convicted by a jury last month of 11 criminal charges pleaded innocent Monday afternoon to trying to run from the County Courthouse after the verdicts were announced.

Richard E. Cornwell Jr., 37, is set for trial July 29 in Superior Court on the charge of first-degree attempted escape.

At the end of Cornwell’s trial May 23, the jury found him guilty of crimes including delivering methamphetamine, possessing other drugs while intending to deliver them and having dozens of stolen items at his residence at 520 S. Third Ave. last December.

After the jury left, Judge John Lohrmann ordered Cornwell — who had not been in custody pending the outcome of his case — to jail pending sentencing. He faces at least 10 years in prison when that sentence is imposed.

As Cornwell was being directed from the third-floor courtroom, he reportedly bolted past a jail sergeant in the hallway, but was detained by the sergeant and two other officers a short distance beyond.

Two more officers ran from inside the courtroom into the hallway to help subdue Cornwell, who struggled for nearly a couple of minutes and at one point said something to the effect, “You may as well shoot me, for I am not going to give up,” according to a Sheriff’s Office report filed in court.

Cornwell eventually quit struggling, was handcuffed and led to jail.

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