Convict who escaped with forged documents tried it once before

Oct. 18, 2013 at 6:29 PM
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CARRABELLE, Fla., Oct. 18 (UPI) -- One of the two convicted murderers who left a Florida prison with forged release documents had tried the ruse before, a court spokeswoman said.

A manhunt is in progress for Charles Walker, 34, and Joseph Jenkins, 34, both serving life sentences, after fabricated documents granted both reduced sentences and an immediate release this week. Jenkins left the Franklin Correctional Institution in Carrabelle, Fla., Sept. 27, and Walker got out Oct. 8.

Jenkins filed similar documents in 2011, asking the Orange County court to reduce his sentence, NBC News reported Friday.

The paperwork was passed along to state prison officials but did not result in a reduction of a sentence, Leesa Brainbridge, spokeswoman for the Orange County Clerk of Courts, said. The State Attorney's office said it was aware of the forged documents of 2011 but had no comment on it.

The documents used by Jenkins and Walker to escape bear the signature of 9th District Chief Justice Belvin Perry, CBS News reported Friday.

Perry -- who presided over the highly publicized trial of Casey Anthony in 2011 -- said his signature is available on public documents and online, CBS News reported.

"It's quite evident that someone had knowledge of the judicial system and how the judicial system operates. I think it (the signature) was lifted off another document and placed on that (release) document, which is not hard to do," Perry said.

The orders to release the inmates were filed with the Orange County Clerk's office and were carefully crafted to look legitimate, down to the county seal, letterheads, signatures of two judges and members of the state attorney's office, and a format common to documents typically filed, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"I strongly believe they had some help," Perry said. "It is unlikely (the documents) were produced by the inmates."

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