Miller Co. officials look to review security after jail escapes

Monday, June 4, 2012 - 9:24am

It started with two men escaping, but now four people are behind bars at the Miller County jail in Texarkana, Arkansas. That includes murder suspects Cortez Hooper and Quincy Stewart, who escaped last Monday, using a hacksaw given to them by Stewart's mother.

After days of searching, police discovered Hooper and Stewart hiding out at an abandoned home on Dudley Street, just blocks from the jail. People in the neighborhood say it's unsettling to know they were so close. "Very nerve-wracking, very upsetting, to find they were caught, you know, a few blocks from where I live and so close to businesses and everything else," said one local man, who did not wish to give his name.

Miller County authorities say the two escapees used the hacksaw two cut through the bars on their cell window. They then smashed the glass and jumped to the ground below, making their getaway on foot. Stewart's mother and brother are both accused of providing them with the tools they needed.

Sheriff Ron Stovall said Quincy Stewart received the hacksaw in a folder along with a pile of legal documents while at the Miller County Courthouse. They were not search because the documents are privileged, confidential information, he said. However, some of those policies are under review, especially the ones that allowed Stewart to sneak the hacksaw into his cell without detection.

"There are design flaws here," said Stovall, speaking about the jail. "We've addressed those and we've done everything we can do and will continue to do everything we can do to try to prevent this from happening again," he said.

Prosecutors will review the information before deciding what additional charges Hooper and Stewart will face, according to the District Attorney's office.

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