McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

May 3, 2013

JBCC inmate pleads guilty to escape

McALESTER — An inmate once housed at the Jackie Brannon Correctional Center in McAlester recently pleaded guilty to escaping from the facility.

Jeffery D. Walker, 23, pleaded guilty April 19 in Pittsburg County District Court to one felony count of escape from penal institution. He was fined $550 and sentenced to serve four years in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

During the time of his escape, Walker was serving a five-year prison term for robbery with a firearm. He was scheduled to be released April 5, 2013. On April 4, Walker was transferred from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to the Pittsburg County jail. He is currently in custody at the jail and awaiting transfer back to DOC.

At the time of his escape, Walker had less than six months of prison time left to serve before his release.

Walker allegedly escaped from JBCC with fellow inmate Terry M. Buckley, 28, on Oct. 31, 2012. The pair were determined to be missing from the facility on the morning of their escape.

Buckley and Walker were allegedly observed “running from C-Unit and getting into a mid-sized silver car,” said former JBCC Warden’s Assistant Laurie Martin.

“The Arkansas state police, in coordination with multiple law enforcement agencies, apprehended both Buckley and Walker,” Martin said. Both inmates were taken into custody in Palestine, Ark., along with two women who allegedly helped them escape, Martin said. “This apprehension was without incident.”

On April 8, Wendy J. Jenkins, 37, and Jenna Anne Grace, 24, both of Wagoner, were each charged in Pittsburg County District Court with one felony count of assisting prisoner to escape.

Pittsburg County Undersheriff Richard Bedford said that the inmates, along with the two women, were apprehended in a motel room beside a truck stop in Palestine at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.

James Holloway, with the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force, said that after the two inmates escaped from JBCC, they stopped off in Muskogee and got a motel room. “They stopped just long enough to change clothes,” Holloway said. “That’s how we got a lead on them. They changed and left their inmate clothes behind.” Holloway said that representatives from the motel called the Muskogee Police Department, which then contacted the prison and the U.S. Marshals.

The inmates and the two women traveled to Palestine, where they got another motel room, according to Holloway, before they were taken into custody.

According to court records, Jenkins and Grace allegedly received phone calls the evening prior to the alleged escapes. Buckley allegedly called Jenkins and Walker allegedly called Grace, court records state. The two inmates allegedly asked the two women to pick them up the next morning at a gas station near JBCC.

Court records indicate the two women picked up the two inmates on the morning of Oct. 31 at a gas station on Polk Avenue in McAlester. The women allegedly allowed the inmates to get into the car and drove them to a motel, court records state, “providing clothing for them, then driving them across the Oklahoma state line into Arkansas, knowing that (they) were escapees from prison.”

Martin said it is unusual to have more than one inmate escape at a time and, typically, escaped inmates have been captured within 72 hours of escaping.

Buckley began serving time at JBCC on July 16, 2008, according to the DOC website. In June of 2008, Buckley was sentenced to serve 15 years for a felony drug-related conviction. He has multiple felony convictions, including burglary, eluding, false impersonation and multiple felony drug related charges. He is set to be released Sept. 26, 2022, and has a parole hearing scheduled in December of 2013.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Jenkins and Grace. If convicted, they are both facing up to 10 years in prison.

Contact Rachel Petersen at rpetersen@mcalesternews.com.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smart phone.

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