Escaped Killers May Have Paid $8k for Fake Papers

By: Morgan Kyrklund Email
By: Morgan Kyrklund Email

PANAMA CITY BEACH - Along with our own Bay County Sheriff's Department Deputies and Panama City Police Officers, U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Task Force, FDLE, and the Department of Corrections all assisted in the arrest.

The spotlight is once again on Florida as the nation wonders how such a big mistake could have been made.

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said, "It's my responsibility that inmates in my custody stay housed there until they're legally due to be released, so it is embarrassing."

Meantime, officials admit there was a mistake made during the paperwork process.

"We are very confident in the procedures that we had; however, it is pretty evident that with two inmates being released due to fraudulent orders that there was a gap in that process somewhere," Crews said.

Last Tuesday, an Assistant State Attorney caught one forged document after Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker tried registering as convicted felons in Orange County.

The next night, the second document was declared forged as well.

Over the past week, the Department of Corrections has been reviewing its policies, procedures and protocol to make sure that no other inmates have been or will be accidentally released.

Crews says, "One of the first things we did was on Friday effective immediately. I sent a letter to all of the Chief Justices and to all of the Circuit Judges letting them know that we now have added an extra layer of verification, as it relates to modified orders, that we receive from the release of inmates."

The new phase was put into effect this past Friday.

According to FDLE officials, they will now require an attestation by a judge if they receive a modified order that deviates down in a reduction in sentence from the original sentence.

Investigators have ruled out any family involvement in the convicts' release.

However, they do say there is an underlying speculation that the documents could have been forged for about $8,000 dollars.

FDLE Commissioner, Jerry Bailey said, "I don't know where the person was located at this point again we are unfolding that at every juncture."

According to authorities this isn't the first time a forged document has tried to release an inmate.

It's happened two other times-- both were caught.

Corrections Secretary Michael Crews will meet with the Florida Clerk of the Courts Association Monday to look at what they need to do together to prohibit this from happening in the future.

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