When Johnny Cagle, 53, escaped from the Wapato jail near Yakima, Washington, on the evening of July 1, 2013, he probably assumed he had precious, little time to get as far away as possible before police recaptured him.
As it turns out, Cagle—clad in orange—could have enjoyed the sunset with a couple scones and a Grande cup of Seattle's Best with little interference from Wapato police.
"So, apparently we're not going to be in, like, some big raging hurry to go and try and find this guy," Wapato Police Officer Jacob Murphy told a Yakima County dispatcher after confirming that Cagle had, indeed, escaped. Murphy's sergeant, he said, "just explained to me that he doesn't believe [Cagle] is a real threat to society or anything like that. So he told me he doesn't want anything really going out [over the radio].
"Just put it out on the computer so the guys know he left," Murphy continued. "I don't know if they want anybody getting a hold of it over the scanner. ... Because the last thing they need is press right now."
Murphy was referring to local newspaper coverage of a Wapato jail guard's alleged sexual contact with a prisoner at the 68-bed jail in 2012, as well as charges against former jail supervisor Bruce Benscoter for allegedly embezzling money from a local youth program.
A Yakima County sheriff's investigation also alleged that Benscoter threatened two female prisoners who cooperated with an internal investigation by Wapato police into a purported relationship between Benscoter and a former prisoner while he was on duty.
The negative attention, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic, could cost Wapato its contracts with several other cities in the region that pay Wapato to incarcerate their convicted misdemeanor offenders. In 2012, the jail used such fees to generate up to $445,000 for the city's $3.1 million general fund operating budget.
About a month after his escape, Cagle—whose criminal history includes minor offenses such as shoplifting, drug possession and probation violations —was recaptured. After his re-arrest, he was charged with second-degree escape and held at the Yakima County jail.
Sources: www.correctionsone.com, Yakima Herald-Republic
As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login