03/27/2009

Escaped Ind. inmates captured in Nebraska

By Timberly Ross
Associated Press

Related Article:

ATF joins multistate hunt for escaped inmates

OMAHA, Neb. — A multistate hunt for three escaped inmates accused of attacking three men while on the run in Kentucky and stealing a dozen guns, cash and a truck ended Thursday with the convicts being taken into custody in Nebraska, the state patrol said.

The inmates were captured in Alliance after a chase during which police used tire deflators to disable their vehicle, Nebraska State Patrol spokesman Mike Meyer said.

"No shots were fired, nobody was hurt," Meyer said.

Christopher Marshall, 49, Jerry Sargent, 59, and Bobby Cockerell, 31, escaped from Indiana's Branchville Correctional Facility on March 20 after overpowering an employee and cutting through a fence.

Authorities have said that three days after their escape, the convicts beat three brothers with clubs in the Kentucky town of Sanders before stealing their cash, guns and a truck.

Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had joined the police hunt for the inmates in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia and Missouri. Meyer said Nebraska authorities got a tip Thursday from a mechanic in Thedford, who said he had helped some men get their vehicle running and later realized they matched the fugitives' descriptions.

A message left Thursday for the U.S. Marshal Service office in Nebraska was not immediately returned.

The FBI has offered assistance in the case but is not directing the investigation, an FBI spokeswoman in Nebraska said late Thursday. She could not provide details of the fugitives' capture.

At the time of the escape, Sargent was serving 50 years for robbery and criminal confinement. Marshall was serving 50 years for dealing cocaine and Cockerell was serving 20 years for burglary.

Arrest warrants have been issued for the men on charges of being felons in possession of firearms and possession of stolen firearms in connection with the Kentucky attack.

Branchville, Ind., is about 920 miles southeast of Alliance.

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