Officer punished for error that led to inmate's escape

September 22, 1994|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

A Howard County corrections officer has been disciplined for unshackling a prisoner who escaped Friday afternoon from a bathroom during a medical visit to St. Agnes Hospital.

The prisoner, Kenneth Burnetti, 23, of the 7900 block of Telegraph Road in Severn, was captured within an hour by Baltimore County police. He was returned to the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup.

The name of the corrections officer was not released, and officials would not comment on whether the man had been fired because of the incident.

"That's a personnel matter. He just didn't follow security procedures," said James N. Rollins, director of the Howard County Department of Corrections. "Restraints were removed from the prisoner to allow him to use the bathroom. Our policy says restraints stay on."

About 1:35 p.m. Friday, Burnetti was at an ophthalmology appointment at St. Agnes Hospital in Southwest Baltimore.

Shortly after his security escort took shackles off his feet to permit him to use the bathroom, Burnetti "bolted out the door," knocking the guard over before fleeing into a wooded area, Mr. Rollins said.

Baltimore County officers from the Wilkens District searched the woods and arrested Burnetti about 2:05 p.m., police said. He appeared before a Baltimore County court commissioner and was charged with escape, Mr. Rollins said.

Burnetti originally was brought to the Howard County Detention Center June 20 to begin serving an 18-month sentence for two thefts in Howard County.

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