GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Prosecutor Jason Holdren recently released information detailing the sentencings of four individuals in Gallia County Common Pleas Court who reportedly overpowered two female corrections officers at the Gallia County Jail in September 2019 and escaped to later be arrested in North Carolina.
Christopher Clemente, 25, who had previously been incarcerated on a first-degree felony charge of trafficking in cocaine before his escape, was also sentenced for the crimes of second-degree felony escape, first-degree felony complicity to kidnapping, two fifth-degree felony charges for complicity to assault of a corrections officer and fourth-degree felony complicity to motor vehicle theft. Clemente was sentenced to a total of 15 to 17 years in a state facility.
Brynn Martin, 40, who had previously been charged with a third-degree felony for escaping a corrections transport van on Ohio 7 earlier the same September, was sentenced for fourth-degree felony failure to appear in court, fourth-degree felony receiving stolen property, second-degree felony complicity to escape, fourth-degree felony complicity to vehicle theft and two fifth-degree felony charges for complicity to assaulting a corrections officer. Martin was sentenced for a total of 13 to 16 years in a state facility.
Troy McDaniel, 30, was sentenced for second-degree felony complicity to escape, first-degree felony complicity to kidnapping, two fifth-degree felony charges of complicity to assaulting a corrections officer and one fourth-degree felony charge of complicity to motor vehicle theft. McDaniel was sentenced to 14 to 18 years in a state facility.
Lawrence Lee, 29, was sentenced for first-degree felony kidnapping, second-degree felony complicity to escape, two fifth-degree felony charges of assaulting a corrections officer and fourth-degree felony motor vehicle theft. Lee was sentenced to a total of 20 to 24.5 years in a state facility.
According to Holdren, a corrections officer had been requested back to the four’s holding area to provide a sleeping mat. There the officer was threatened with a “shank” and overpowered before the four escapees intercepted the second corrections officers. Upon forcing open a door, the four entered the administrative section of the jail and stole the vehicle keys of one of the two corrections officer. The escapees then took the stolen vehicle to Gallipolis City Park where another vehicle had been parked and waiting for them. They then fled Ohio in that vehicle.
According to the Associated Press, three of the escapees were taken into custody in Cary, North Carolina, and “captured without incident,” Sept. 29, 2019 in the early morning. Lee was captured the following Monday in Durham, North Carolina. The prosecutor said law enforcement was able to find the escapees’ vehicle after issuing a warrant for information from a GPS navigation company attached to the vehicle.
All four individuals were sentenced in regard to the escape between January and February of this year, said the prosecutor.
Prior to their escape, Clemente was being held for counts of complicity to trafficking drugs. Martin, who Gallia Sheriff Matt Champlin said escaped for the second time from the jail, was charged with breaking and entering, receiving stolen property, two counts of failure to appear, and escape — all felonies. McDaniel was being held for failure to appear from Gallia County Juvenile Court and Lee was charged with felony identity fraud and two misdemeanors: obstructing official business and assault.
The escape of the four inmates gathered national attention to the outdated condition of the Gallia County Jail as well as concerns with officer and inmate safety.
Dean Wright is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and can be reached at 740-446-2342.