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Union County Jail escapees face new charges in court

Union County Jail escapees face new charges in court

By KELI JACOBI News-T imes Staff Three inmates who escaped earlier this week from the Union County Jail each made a fi rst appearance to face new charges in Union County District Court on Wednesday.
Marcus Hicks, 31, of Strong, Karl E. Pearce, 17, of Minden, La., and Lester D. Charles, 20, of Spearsville, La., were charged with second-degree escape. The class D felony is punishable by a sentence of up to six years in prison and/ or a fi ne not to exceed $10,000.
Charles and Pearce fi led a certifi cate of indigence and requested the services of the public defenderís offi ce. Both were recently sentenced to prison after entering guilty pleas to the aggravated robbery of a local used car dealership. They were being held in custody at the jail pending transfer to the Arkansas Department of Correction.
Hicks, who was awaiting trial on charges of attempted murder, said he planned to hire his own attorney.
Judge Mary Thomason briefl y stopped proceedings against Pearce when the defendantís age became an issue. Under Arkansasí code, Pearce would normally be considered a delinquent juvenile, although the commission of certain felonies can expose a person 14 or older to prosecution as an adult in circuit court. Pearce was returned to a holding cell until the required criminal information could be fi led in circuit court charging him as an adult.
All three inmates are being held in custody without bond.
A woman accused of driv ing Charles and Pearce from El Dorado to Louisiana after their escape also made a brief fi rst appearance Wednesday. Jacqueline N. Johnson, of Grambling, La., told the judge she was a full-time student at Grambling State Univer sity who was about to return home to Alabama just before she was taken into custody. The defendant faces charges of hindering apprehension or prosecution.
Thomason set the cash or corporate surety bond on Johnson at $20,000 and or dered her to sign a waiver of extradition before release.


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