Escape gets man one year in jail

Suspect fled bond hearing in August

was captured in W.Va.

April 19, 2002|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A 20-year-old Elkridge man who eluded authorities for eight days last summer after bolting from the Howard County District Court commissioner's office during a bond hearing was sentenced yesterday to a year in jail for the escape.

"One thing that's overriding is there has to be a deterrent," Howard Circuit Judge Lenore R. Gelfman said before handing down the sentence to J.C. Porter.

Porter, who pleaded guilty to the escape charge on Feb. 1, must serve the sentence after completing an 18-month term for resisting arrest in 1999.

Porter's escape Aug. 20 came as county police and court officials were preparing space in the Southern District police station in North Laurel for a court commissioner's office.

County Police Chief Wayne Livesay had long been requesting a court commissioner for the station to reduce prisoner transports to Ellicott City, said police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.

But because the process was incomplete, Wackenhut Security, a company employed by the county, was still taking people arrested in the county to the commissioner's office in the District Court building in Ellicott City to be formally charged.

The day of his escape, Porter was one of eight people Wackenhut Security had driven to Ellicott City, according to court files. He had been arrested on a charge of violating probation in a case stemming from a fire at Deep Run Elementary School.

During his hearing, Porter complained to a Wackenhut guard that his left leg restraint was too tight around his ankle, according to police and court files. One of Porter's hands was out of the cuffs so he could sign paperwork.

As the guard loosened the restraint, Porter pulled his leg out and ran out of the building, according to court files.

Porter was found Aug. 28 in a Petersburg, W.Va., motel. Police said at the time that he tried to dive out of a window to get away.

Porter's mother, Donna L. Bowman, 36, was charged with obstructing and hindering a police officer after investigators found motel receipts showing that she had been at the motel between Aug. 24 and 26, according to court papers. Bowman, who now lives in Baker, W.Va., previously told officers that she had not heard from her son, according to court papers.

She was given probation before judgment last week for her role in the escape.

Before sentencing yesterday, Porter's attorney, William Porter, who is not related, said his client has been charged numerous times as a result of a drinking problem.

"I think that is the root of all his problems, to be honest," the lawyer said. "I don't think he's a serious bad person."

J.C. Porter, who has a year-old daughter by his teen-age girlfriend and was a wrestling star while at Long Reach High School, is in alcohol treatment at the Howard County Detention Center and must attend a 30-day in-patient treatment program as a result of an impaired driving conviction in Baltimore City, his lawyer said.

J.C. Porter, who has been in the Howard County Detention Center since Sept. 4, was also sentenced to one year in jail yesterday for the probation violation. That sentence, for charges of malicious burning and malicious destruction of property, will run concurrent with the escape sentence.

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