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Inmates plead guilty to escapes

by The Associated Press | October 20, 2009 at 6:19 p.m.

Two convicted murderers who walked out of an Arkansas prison wearing guard uniforms have pleaded guilty to escape.

Jeffrey Grinder, 33, and Calvin Adams, 39, left through the Cummins Unit’s front doors May 29 after donning identification cards and prison guard uniforms. They were caught June 2 in New York, where prison-made guard uniforms and phony ID badges were found in the car with them. Six guards were fired and another was disciplined.

Grinder and Adams, who already were serving life sentences without parole for capital murder convictions, were sentenced to an additional six years in prison.

Charles “Tubby” Wilson, 63, also pleaded guilty Monday in an unrelated escape. The Pope County drug offender drove a tractor off the Varner Unit grounds on Oct. 10, 2008. He was caught 12 days later. Wilson received a 10-year prison sentence to run concurrently with the 40 years he already is serving.

All three have been moved to the Varner Supermax Unit.

Inmates have stopped sewing guard uniforms at the Cummins Unit and changes have been made to staff parking to make it easier to tell if a car has been left after the end of a shift.

Grinder and Adams had a car waiting for them the day they escaped, though no guards were accused of helping them.

In the Supermax Unit, Grinder and Adams don’t have the privileges they had in the Cummins Unit.

“Their movement is severely restricted. They eat and shower in their cells. They can come out for an hour a day for exercise, but they do not go to an open recreation yard,” Tyler said.

“Whenever they are out of the cell, they are cuffed and shackled and two officers escort them at all times. At Cummins, they both had jobs and some movement within the institution. That’s gone,” she said.


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