Man admits guilt in jail vandalism and Walla Walla County Courthouse escape

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WALLA WALLA — A man who committed a crime to get into jail and then fled from the County Courthouse following an appearance last month has pleaded guilty to vandalism and escape charges.

Coleman D. Cantrell, 19, pleaded guilty to second-degree malicious mischief and second-degree escape. He had been scheduled to go to trial on those charges Friday, but agreed to a change of plea Monday.

Sentencing is set for April 21, said Walla Walla County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Nagle.

Cantrell was arrested Feb. 24 when he went to the County Jail and told officers he wanted to turn himself in. After being told he was not wanted on any warrants, he began throwing a garbage can about the lobby, punched metal lockers, urinated on the floor and kicked an automated teller machine, shattering its screen. He was subsequently arrested and charged with second-degree malicious mischief.

After a court appearance on March 10 at which he pleaded innocent to the vandalism charge, Cantrell managed to remove a leg restraint and bolted from officers as he was being led from the courtroom back to jail.

Cantrell fled from the building and ended up on Grape Street where his mother lives. Before officials could apprehend him, a relative who works at the Washington State Penitentiary grabbed him.

Cantrell faces a standard range sentence of up to 90 days in jail for the malicious mischief charge and between three to eight months for the escape charge.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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