The Woodward News

June 7, 2011

Escapee back in custody

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — By Rowynn Ricks

Assistant Editor

FORT SUPPLY--An inmate who was already serving time for possession of a stolen vehicle was caught in another stolen car after he escaped from William S. Key Correctional Center Tuesday morning.

James W. Morrison, 38, was apprehended by Caddo County authorities around 11 a.m. Tuesday after being on the lam for around 9 hours. Caddo County Undersheriff Lennis Miller said 3 deputies with his department and 2 Hinton police officers took Morrison into custody "just south and west of Hinton" after receiving a call about a suspicious vehicle.

"We received a call from somebody who lives in the area about a car with a man inside it parked in a driveway; I'm not sure if it was a driveway to a house or to a field," Miller said.  "Our dispatcher asked for a description of the vehicle and the tag number and when the caller gave us the information we knew it was the escapee they were looking for from William S. Key."

Morrison was caught in a white Suzuki Sidekick that had been reported stolen from Fort Supply around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

When the Caddo County authorities approached the vehicle, Miller said "he (Morrison) just gave up no problem at all."

"He was arrested at the scene and the vehicle was impounded.  Then he was brought down and booked into our county jail," the undersheriff said.

However, by 4 p.m. Tuesday, Morrison had been picked up by officials with the W. S. Key Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) and was being transported back to Fort Supply.

"He will be brought back to Woodward County to be arraigned and will then be transferred to a higher security facility," said W. S. Key spokeswoman Donna Burkhalter.


Morrison escaped from William S. Key Correctional Center sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Tuesday

Linda Eike, warden's assistant at the minimum security prison, said the prison conducts "hourly counts from midnight on."

Morrison was accounted for at the 1 a.m. count, but was discovered missing at the 2 a.m. count, Eike said.  A second count was immediately conducted and his escape was confirmed at 2:13 a.m., she said.

Eike said Morrison likely walked out of his housing unit when security officers were in another section.

"There are 4 different areas in our units with 100 inmates in each area," she said.  "When you're conducting hourly counts that means the security officers are constantly walking around from area to area."

"They (escapees) will keep an eye out for the correctional officers to know when to make their move when they're going to run," she said.

However, other than personnel, there isn't much to impede an inmate's escape.

"This particular unit where Morrison was being held doesn't have a fence around it," Eike said.  "And we can't lock the doors at night because of fire hazards."

Eike said she was unsure if any of the security camera's at the prison caught Morrison's escape.

Morrison was being held at the minimum security prison in Fort Supply on a 15-year sentence for a 2002 conviction from Cleveland County for possession of a stolen vehicle.


Both Eike and Burkhalter said it is unknown why Morrison went to Caddo County, whether he knew someone in that area or might have been on his way to Cleveland County,

"There will be an active investigation," Burkhalter said.  "Hopefully we will get some of that information later on."