Two former Kankakee (Illinois) County Jail guards and a civilian face multiple felony counts in connection with a dramatic December 22, 1999 jailbreak.
Newly-hired guards Melody Burdunice and Michael Cutler allegedly smuggled cellular telephone batteries to accused killer and jail detainee John "Buck Wild" Shannon. The civilian, Robert Strickland, 25, is accused of providing the handgun to Burdunice, 20, who smuggled it into the jail and delivered it to Shannon. Police sources told the Kankakee Sunday Journal that Burdunice and Shannon were former lovers.
Somehow the smuggled gun came into the possession of another prisoner, Terrance "T-Money" Springer, an alleged associate of Shannon, who used it to escape from the facility in the early morning hours of December 22.
Police sources say that Springer brandished the gun shortly after being escorted to the jail's property room to pick up his eyeglasses. He allegedly forced two guards to lay on the floor and had one of them make a radio call to instruct other guards to release Shannon and another prisoner, Aarano Gandy, from their cells. He apparently intended to break Shannon and Gandy out of the jail with him.
Springer then put the gun to the head of one guard and started walking towards the jail entrance, police sources say. Two other guards ran to help. Springer shot one of the two, Michael J. Raymond, at close range in the abdomen. He then ran toward the jail's entrance and fled the facility without waiting for his partners to be released from their cells. Authorities say that Burdunice, who was working in the jail's control room, opened the final three doors that allowed Springer to escape the jail.
Police launched an intense manhunt, and Springer was captured four days later just blocks from the jail. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, unlawful possession of contraband in a penal institution, unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, four counts of aggravated unlawful restraint and escape.
Ernest Robertson, 21, one of the guards taken hostage by Springer, was arrested in mid February, 2000. Robertson was charged by Kankakee state attorney Michael Kick with four felony counts of custodial sexual misconduct stemming from sexual conduct with an unidentified 33 year old female jail prisoner. Robertson and the prisoner allegedly masturbated each other in areas of the jail which were not under camera surveillance. It is illegal in Illinois for guards to have sex with prisoners. Robertson has been fired by the jail.
Source: Kankakee Sunday Journal
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