A man released yesterday from prison escaped today while being transported back to Lafayette. He was recaptured several hours later, and has now been booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
It was the second time that Markell Jones, 27, had run from police.
Jones finished a five-year sentence at the River Bend Detention Center yesterday, DOC officials say. He was being transported by East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s deputies to LPCC. He escaped Tuesday morning, and was found by deputies off West Willow at about 2 p.m. today.
This morning after Jones escaped, deputies were searching in the area of Voorhies and St. Antoine Streets in Lafayette. Lafayette Middle and Myrtle Place Elementary schools were placed on lockdown as a recaution, and the downtown campus of Ascension Episcopal, as well as First Baptist and Cathedral Carmel Elementary also were on lockdown.
The schools were in no immediate danger; the lockdowns were simply a precaution.
Deputies say Jones’ girlfriend will be charged with accessory after the fact to simple escape. She’s been identified as Desara Edmond.
KATC Investigates has learned that yesterday, Jones finished the majority of two five-year sentences at the River Bend Detention Center on charges related to a 2013 incident. In that case, he was accused of stealing a truck, theft, criminal damage to property, resisting arrest and stealing a car. He ended up pleading guilty to attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and unauthorized use of a vehicle.
He was sentenced to five years on each charge, with the sentences to be served at the same time.
DOC officials say Jones served part of his time and was released on a good-time parole, but his parole was revoked last fall and he was sent back to prison. He was serving out his original sentence until yesterday, when he was released on good-time. However, DOC officials say, he was wanted in Lafayette, and so instead of his being released, he was being transferred to the custody of Lafayette Parish.
Jones was ordered to come back to Lafayette to re-post the bond on pending charges against him, court records show. In September, Jones went back to prison after his parole was revoked. At that time, his original bond on the Lafayette charges was cancelled. In November, a court order was issued that required him to re-post his original bonds on the pending Lafayette charges.
Jones has a court date later this month in five different cases. The charges Jones currently faces stretch back to 2016. Court records indicate he’s had at least four public defenders, and none of them have stayed on the case very long. One said in a court filing that, more than six months after he was appointed, he still hadn’t met with Jones.
We reached out to the attorney currently assigned to Jonses’ case, Jason Hessick. Hessick said he couldn’t comment on his client’s case, but he did say that Jones’ situation – having had multiple attorneys – isn’t unique.
“It’s unfortunate that we have so many clients who we want to give adequate help, but we don’t necessarily have the budget to give them all the attention that all of them deserve and need for their cases,” Hessick said.
Hessick said having clients in DOC custody is an issue for public defenders, because DOC won’t bring the prisoner to their home parish for a meeting with their attorney.
The oldest case Jones faces now is from June 2016, when he was charged in a bill of information with cruelty to a juvenile and criminal trespassing in Carencro.
In June 2018, he is accused of stealing a motor vehicle and armed robbery. A bill of information formally charging him was filed in October.
In July 2018, he is accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm and illegal possession of a stolen firearm, which was a 9 mm Ruger. A bill of information formally charging him was filed in October 2018.
In August 2018, he’s accused of stealing a 1990 Cadillac and resisting arrest in connection with an alleged high-speed chase. He was later found hiding in a sleeper sofa, police said. A bill of information was filed in September, charging him with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.
In September 2018, he’s accused of simple battery, a misdemeanor. A bill formally charging him with that was filed in October 2018.