TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida man was charged with helping his brother's killer and another murderer escape from prison with bogus court documents, authorities said Thursday in announcing more charges in the scheme.
Willie Slater Jr. helped Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins escape from a Panhandle prison this fall because he owed Jenkins a favor, Florida Department of Law Enforcement special agent Danny Banks said. Jenkins and Slater were behind bars together, and Jenkins helped get Slater out of prison in 2009 by giving false testimony that he committed a home invasion Slater was convicted of, Banks said.
Walker murdered Slater's brother, Cedric, in 1999.
"It seems odd that he would help get his brother's murderer out of jail, but he owed a significant favor to Mr. Jenkins which he fulfilled," Banks said.
Even stranger, Slater was arrested after Jenkins and Walker were caught and charged with making death threats to Walker's family. Jenkins and Walker were captured Oct. 19 and Slater was arrested Oct. 28.
Slater was one of four people charged with helping Walker and Jenkins escape. The others are Nydeed Nashaddai, Terrance Goodman and Jeffrey Forbes.
Nashaddai was the mastermind behind the scheme, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey.
Nashaddai used forged documents to get out of a Pinellas County jail in 2009. He was captured in less than a day, sentenced to 20 years for escape and taken to the Franklin County prison where Walker and Jenkins were serving life term. That's where he taught them to forge court documents, Bailey said.
Forbes also helped create the documents using prison computers and printers and he made a similar escape attempt, which was thwarted by a detective who discovered that his release date had been changed, Bailey said.
The fake release orders were mailed to Slater, who helped deliver them to the Orange County clerk of court's office, Bailey said.
It wasn't immediately clear whether the men had attorneys. Either jail records did not list lawyers for them or officials didn't immediately return email.
Jenkins and Walker were let out of the prison on Sept. 27 and Oct. 8, respectively, and they registered as ex-felon's at the Orange County jail to keep the ruse going. The escape was discovered when a relative of Roscue Pugh, who Jenkins murdered, asked the state attorney's office why Jenkins was out of prison. The state automatically notifies victims or their families when violent felons are being released.
Once discovered, Goodman helped the pair run from authorities, driving them to Panama City Beach and renting them a motel room, Bailey said. Goodman also served time in the Franklin County prison with Jenkins and Walker. He was arrested Thursday in Panama City. The three other men charged were already in custody.
Bailey said the investigation was not over.
"We're at six now, there are other leads, there's other evidence that may lead to other individuals and may lead to other arrests," Bailey said.
The documents were written and produced in the prison using computers and printers in the law library. Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said the agency is reviewing what it is constitutionally required to provide in prison law libraries and will remove what is not required.
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