Facing a possible 25-year sentence after being found guilty of assault with intent to commit robbery last January, Sherrell E. Walker took advantage of a situation too tempting to pass up: a chance for freedom.
Yesterday, a short-lived period of liberty that began when he escaped from the basement of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Courthouse cost him an extra six months on top of the 15-year sentence he is serving at the Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown.
Mr. Walker, 29, was waiting to be taken back to jail pending his sentencing Jan. 28, when a guard briefly left him and another prisoner unattended. The guard also left a set of keys in the lock-up door.
Mr. Walker took the keys, unlocked the shackles around his feet and his handcuffs, and escaped. The other man decided to stay.
Mr. Walker walked down Cathedral Street to West Street, where he was spotted by Assistant State's Attorney Steven M. Sindler, who was in his car driving home. He had just finished prosecuting Mr. Walker.
"He was sitting at the light and he looked over, and he sees Mr. Walker walking down the street," John H. Robinson III, an assistant state's attorney, said during yesterday's hearing. "Mr. Sindler, being the intelligent person that he is, figured out something was wrong and sought out the proper authorities."
Mr. Walker was found hiding in the stairwell of a nearby parking garage.
The security guard who left the keys in the door, David Reece, 54, of Linthicum, was suspended without pay for five days and ordered to undergo retraining.