SC murder suspect planned escape during fire


(Sumter County Jail via AP)

SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on a jail escape in South Carolina (all times local):

11:50 a.m.

Authorities say an inmate charged with murder spent a month planning an escape from a jail in South Carolina that would take advantage of a fellow prisoner setting fire to a mattress and an attack on guards.

Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said 32-year-old Stephen Stinnette was recaptured around 4 a.m. Friday, seven hours after taking advantage of the chaos to scale a barbed wire topped fence at the Sumter County jail.

Dennis said at a news conference Stinnette was the mastermind of the plan to start the fire, then fight guards as they tried to get the 60 inmates out of the unit filling with smoke.

Dennis says Stinnette and two other inmates made it to the recreation yard, but only Stinnette made it over the fence.

The sheriff says two guards suffered minor injuries in the fight.

Dennis says Stinnette will face additional charges for the escape and be moved to a different jail as he awaits trial on a 2018 murder charge.


10:05 a.m.

Authorities say an inmate charged with murder is back in a jail in South Carolina after escaping during a riot.

Sumter County deputies said 32-year-old Stephen Stinnette escaped the Sumter County jail around 7 p.m. Thursday in the chaos after inmates including Stinnette started fighting as they were being taken out of a unit filling with smoke when one prisoner set a mattress on fire.

Authorities said Stinnette was recaptured after several hours. More details will be released Friday.

Deputies said in a statement two guards suffered minor injuries.

Stinnette has been in jail awaiting trial on a murder charge since May 2018. Authorities say Stinnette buried the victim’s body twice digging it up both times before dumping the remains in Lake Marion.

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