Officials: Man who worked to get arrested makes escape attempt

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WALLA WALLA — A man who vandalized the Walla Walla County Jail lobby last month so he could get arrested attempted to escape from custody Monday.

Coleman Cantrell, 19, went to the jail Feb. 25 and asked to be arrested. When jail staff told him there was no reason to arrest him, he damaged the lobby ATM, urinated on the floor and snorted lines of protein powder on the lobby counter.

Cantrell was then booked for investigation of felony malicious mischief, and following an appearance in Superior Court on that charge Monday he attempted to escape.

Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John King said Cantrell and two other inmates were being escorted back to jail following their court appearances when Cantrell broke away from deputies.

Cantrell had apparently managed to remove one of his leg manacles before his attempt to flee, King said. Cantrell then ran out of the courthouse and south on Fifth Avenue, eventually ending up on Grape Street, where his mother lives.

King said Cantrell was detained by a female relative who also happens to work at the Washington State Penitentiary.

“Basically, she grabbed him,” King said.

King said the escape attempt has sparked a review of courtroom security, though no major changes are expected.

“We will definitely look at that and see if there is something we can tighten up,” King said, adding that changes could include adding more security staff or adding more barriers inside the courthouse.

Kings also said the Sheriff’s Office is reviewing how Cantrell’s restraints were secured.

A charge against Cantrell for allegedly escaping is expected to be added to his initial charge of second-degree malicious mischief.

This morning, his court-appointed attorney, Julie Brown, asked Superior Court Judge Scott Wolfram to release Cantrell on his own recognizance to live with his mother pending the outcome of his case.

“I do believe mental health is something that needs to be addressed,” Brown said.

Wolfram told her to put together a mental health plan, and Cantrell’s potential release or a change in the bail amount can be considered after the new charge is filed. Meanwhile, bail remains at $10,000.

U-B reporter Terry McConn contributed to this report. Luke Hegdal can be reached at lukehegdal@wwub.com or 526-8326.

Comments

wallawallabob 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Maybe something as simple as checking the leg irons and handcuffs, prior to every movement, might help resolve this? I was at the front door of courthouse and saw the inmate running down the steps swinging something that could have injured people in the courthouse doing business. Let's get something more in place to prevent this, it has also been a problem in the past

With a Sheriff election coming up lets ask the candidates, "What failure caused this escape?" "What will you do differently to prevent future escape?" This is a serious matter of County Liability if the public is injured!

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