02/26/2010

Md. police nab mistakenly released inmate

Raymond Taylor, serving three life sentences for attempted murder, impersonated his cell mate

The Associated Press

BALTIMORE — An inmate serving three life sentences for attempted murder who conned his way out of a Baltimore prison by impersonating his cellmate was captured Friday morning in West Virginia, authorities said.

Raymond T. Taylor, 26, of New York, was mistakenly released from the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center on Thursday afternoon, said Division of Correction spokesman Mark Vernarelli. Taylor is serving three life sentences for what prosecutors called the attempted "execution-style" slayings of his ex-girlfriend and her two teenage daughters. He was convicted of three counts of attempted murder in 2005.

Taylor was caught without incident at the home of a friend in Martinsburg, W.Va., said Baltimore Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

Maryland Commissioner of Correction J. Michael Stouffer said the investigation into how Taylor was mistakenly released is in its preliminary stages. But he said that at 11 a.m., Taylor was placed in a cell with an inmate who was scheduled to be released.

"That is not how our process goes. That was a mistake," Stouffer said.

The prison is a former "Supermax" facility that's now used to house inmates who are awaiting court appearances or moving from one prison to another. It houses 540 inmates; 214 are federal prisoners.

Stouffer said that on Thursday morning, a transportation detail arrived at the prison from western Maryland with Taylor, who was due in court on a matter not related to his convictions. He was placed in the cell with the other inmate.

At 1:45 p.m., Stouffer said, a line officer called the name of the other inmate. Taylor went to the front of the cell, Stouffer said, and handed the officer the other inmate's ID card.

"He presented himself as the other inmate," Stouffer said. "He was asked for the ID number, and he (said) it."

Twice more, Taylor was asked to identify himself by different prison workers, Stouffer said. Each time, Taylor recited the other inmate's ID number. Taylor was released.

Stouffer said the mistake was discovered about 3:45 p.m. when the other inmate began kicking on the cell door, demanding to be released.

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