McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

April 9, 2013

Two woman charged in helping JBCC inmates escape

By Rachel Petersen
Staff Writer

McALESTER — Two women were charged recently after helping two Jackie Brannon Correctional Center inmates escape.

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

On Oct. 31, 2012, Jenkins and Grace allegedly assisted JBCC inmates Terry M. Buckley, 27, and Jeffery D. Walker, 23, escape the facility.

Buckley and Walker were determined to be missing from the facility on the morning of Oct. 31, according to 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 the two women who allegedly helped them escape, Martin said. “This apprehension was without incident.”

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.

Buckley and Walker were allegedly observed “running from C-Unit and getting into a mid-sized silver car,” Martin said.

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.”

Both Buckley and Walker were charged in Pittsburg County District Court with escaping from a penal institution. In convicted, they are both facing life imprisonment. Their cases are still pending.

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.

Walker began serving time at JBCC on April 12, 2011, according to the DOC website. In April of 2009, Walker was sentenced to serve five years incarceration for a robbery with firearm conviction. He was set to be released from custody on April 5, 2013. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections website shows Walker is currently “inactive,” or no longer in custody. However, on April 4, Walker was booked into custody at the Pittsburg County jail. He remains in custody there in lieu of a $50,000 bond for the escape charge, according to the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office daily inmate list.

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.

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