Guard Distracted During Jail Escape: Hopkins County Official

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    Hopkins County Jail
    Brian Allen Tucker (right), who is awaiting a capital murder trial, was returned to the Hopkins County Jail on Thursday along with John Marlin King (left).

    A sheriff's office spokesman in East Texas says two inmates who escaped for two days took advantage of a guard distracted by several other duties.

    Brian Allen Tucker, who is awaiting a capital murder trial, was returned to the Hopkins County Jail on Thursday along with John Marlin King. It's the same jail in Sulphur Springs, about 75 miles northeast of Dallas, that authorities say the two inmates fled on Tuesday.

    On Friday morning, Tucker and King were arraigned on escape charges. After his arraignment the Texas Department of Criminal Justice moved King to the Gurney Unit in Anderson County. Tucker will remain at the Hopkins County Jail until his capital murder trial in June.

    Hopkins County officials say they're studying how to improve security and prevent another escape.

    Hopkins County sheriff's Sgt. Brad Cummings said part of the problem was Tucker and King had been in the jail several times and possibly knew how to successfully escape.

    Escapees Captured in Cooper

    A foiled try to pawn stolen jewelry Thursday led officials to the hideout of two inmates who escaped from an East Texas jail, a sheriff said.

    Their capture came after federal, state and local officers raided a barn where the men were hiding in Cooper, 20 miles northwest of Sulphur Springs.

    Authorities were led to the men after a pawn shop clerk in Cooper reported that someone had been trying to pawn jewelry left in a vehicle that had been stolen, said Sheriff Ricky Smith of Delta County, where the arrests took place. Investigators believed the fugitives had stolen the vehicle from a Sulphur Springs location.

    Police then questioned the person with the jewelry, who revealed the fugitives were hiding, Smith said. The agents and officers stormed the barn and took the pair into custody without incident shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, he said.

    Also arrested was the owner of the house where the barn was located. Charles Ensey was in the Delta County Jail in Cooper charged with two counts of hindering arrest, Smith said. No bond has been set, and Ensey was scheduled to go before a magistrate Friday.

    The arrests came two days after Tucker and King slipped past a Hopkins County Jail fence.

    Sheriff's officials said the inmates fled the jail Tuesday by scaling a fence or slipping through a gap in a perimeter fence in Sulphur Springs, about 75 miles northeast of Dallas. Officials said a maintenance person noticed a problem with the fence around a recreation yard used by female inmates. Hours later, deputies and other law enforcement officers were searching the woods and area east and northeast of the jail.

    Tucker was being held on $1 million bond in the 2011 death of Bobby Riley of Mahoney. Riley was found strangled in his home and some music instruments and firearms had been stolen. Jury selection in the murder trial was set to begin June 3.

    Tucker previously was convicted of burglary and driving while intoxicated, and has been arrested several times for violating parole.

    King was being held on several charges, including evading arrest, burglary and possession of a controlled substance. According to court documents, he pleaded guilty last month to the possession charge as a habitual offender and received a sentence of 40 years in prison.