Florida escapees found and arrested in Panama City

Florida authorities on Saturday evening arrested two convicted murderers, Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins, who forged release documents and escaped from prison.
They were taken into custody at 6:40 p.m. at Panama City’s Coconut Grove Motor Inn. The two men appeared in court Sunday morning at the Bay County Courthouse in Panama City.

The state Department of Corrections who incorrectly released the two inmates said little about the arrests, however, they insist it was not their fault. Family members of both men spoke out requesting that they turn themselves in to authorities. Walker’s mother said, “We just want you to surrender yourself to someone you trust who will bring you back in safely.” Both families denied any knowledge of the escape and told investigators and reporters they first learned of the releases in telephone calls from the Franklin Correctional Institution informing them that they could pick up their family member.

In September 1998, Jenkins killed Roscoe Pugh Jr. during a home-invasion robbery attempt. Six months later, Walker allegedly shot and killed Cedric Slater on an Orlando street corner. Both men were convicted and sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole within two years of their crime.

It is unknown whether the two men knew each other personally. Investigators later discovered these documents were forged. The forged documents contained forged signatures of the Orlando-area State Attorney or the assistant state attorney and a Judge. The documents bore the seal of the Orange County clerk of court’s office.

They both went to the Orange County jail to register as felons — Jenkins on September 30, Walker on October 11 — as required by law.

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