Captured Escapees Appear in Court in Bay County - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Captured Escapees Appear in Court in Bay County

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The two convicted killers who were wrongfully released from a panhandle prison, are back behind bars, Saturday, after almost a month of freedom.

The capture of Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins has drawn national attention to Bay County, where they stood before a judge, Sunday morning.

Both men, return to jail, this time with additional escape charges.

"There's been a request that you are held without bond, I'm going to honor that," said Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet, during the arraignment.

Both men appeared in court just a few miles from the Coconut Grove Motor Inn, where they were captured by officers from multiple law enforcement agencies, who surrounded room 227.

 "We made announcements over our pa system and after about a minute or two, both of the fugitives came out and surrendered to us," said Marty West, United States Marshal's Service.

In a press conference, Sunday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said the men were unarmed and waiting for a ride from a friend to an out of state location.

Although the manhunt is over, the case is not closed.

"I can tell you that there will be more arrests," said Gerald Bailey, FDLE Commissioner. "Obviously we will be back tracking to find those who may have helped carry out this fraud and along the way we will be looking closely at anyone who may have helped harbor these fugitives."

The men were recently let out of the Franklin Correctional Institution in Carrabelle, after forged documents approved their early release.

"The documents looked good. They looked official," said Bailey. "The only thing, that caught the state attorney's eye. People that did not usually sign this type of document were on the signature lines."

The error has raised questions as to how it happened.

"It is embarrassing.. but my concentration at this point as I think everyone else here, is making sure we come up with a process and procedure that prohibits this from happening in the future," said Michael Crews, Florida Department of Corrections.

Locals say they are glad the fugitives are off the street, but it is nerve racking to know they were hiding out so close to home.

"I know a lot of people here, my kid lives here," said Michael Pearson, Panama City resident. "The thought that she was walking down the street and maybe even shared a side walk with these people. It bothers me deeply."

Authorities believe the two men were in Bay County for about 48 hours before they were apprehended.