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Hunt On for Texas Escapee

U.S. marshals service offers $10,000 for the capture of a man who walked off death row.

November 06, 2005|From Associated Press

HOUSTON — The search for a death row inmate who walked unnoticed out of a Texas county jail became a nationwide manhunt Saturday as authorities investigated whether he had help making the brazen escape.

The U.S. marshals service offered a $10,000 reward for the capture of Charles Victor Thompson and designated him a federal fugitive.

Thompson, 35, of the Houston suburb of Tomball, escaped Thursday after meeting with an attorney, though not his defense attorney of record, authorities said. He was condemned in 1999 for the shooting deaths of ex-girlfriend Dennise Hayslip, 39, and her boyfriend, Darren Keith Cain, 30.

Lt. John Martin of the Harris County Sheriff's Department said Saturday that investigators had found the civilian clothing Thompson wore when he left the building. It was behind one of the Sheriff's Department's other downtown jail buildings, and some effort had been made to hide it, he said.

"It's pretty clear at this point there was somebody helping him," Martin said.

Authorities also found the fake ID badge Thompson used, an inmate ID card with his photograph issued by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Thompson had put a piece of tape over the part of the card that indicated he was an inmate.

Thompson was in the County Jail awaiting transfer to a state prison. A jury sentenced him to death Oct. 28 after an appeals court threw out the earlier sentence.

Prosecutors had accused Thompson of trying to hire hit men to kill witnesses against him as well as members of Hayslip's family, and Martin said that members of Hayslip's family had been given police protection.

"There is no good way to spin this," he said. "The point is there were multiple errors on the part of our personnel."

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