PALATKA, Fla. — Two escaped jail inmates were charged with murder during an emergency hearing hours after they were captured as part of a dayslong manhunt spanning several states, authorities said Sunday.
The Putnam County Sheriff's Office wanted to send Doni Ray Brown, 23, and Timothy Wayne Fletcher, 25, to an undisclosed facility out of the area immediately after their Saturday arrest. The two made a first appearance late Saturday before Seventh Circuit Judge Edward E. Hedstrom, Lt. Johnny Greenwood said.
They did not yet have attorneys, Greenwood said.
The men had been missing since escaping the Putnam County Jail early Wednesday morning. Within hours, authorities say, they had stolen two vehicles and killed Fletcher's 66-year-old step-grandmother, Helen Googe, who owned one of the cars.
Greenwood said the men, alleged accomplices on a previous armed robbery, were accidentally placed in the same cell because of a jail records mistake. Fletcher made bail on the robbery, but was soon returned to jail for several counts of failure to appear on an aggravated assault charge. Brown was still being held for the robbery, and the two were reunited.
The cellmates escaped by ripping out a sink and toilet combination from the wall with a jack Fletcher apparently stole from a county van during a previous court appearance. They crawled through the hole in the wall, dug under a fence and got through a second barrier.
The two still face the earlier pending charges, and more are possible after an alleged crime spree that stretched up to Kentucky. A nationwide alert was issued after the car stolen from Googe was found there. The men are also accused of stealing a vehicle in Tennessee before returning to Florida.
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Investigators found Brown and Fletcher after getting a tip the men were back in town.