Murder defendant says key helped his escape
A murder defendant who nearly escaped during his trial on Monday said he was able to get out of his handcuffs with a key that he found after he was served lunch by bailiffs, a contention which is disputed by the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
Keith Lauchon Jackson Jr. testified at his trial on Thursday that the bailiffs may not have knowingly gave him the key that allowed for his escape Monday, but that is where he got it from.
“I got a bag lunch to eat. A bailiff came back and asked if I wanted a second bagged lunch,” Jackson said. “While I was eating it, I found a key. I used it to take off the handcuffs, but it got jammed.”
Jackson’s allegations are untrue, according to Col. Randy Powers of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
“We checked all the bailiffs keys, and no keys were missing. He had a handcuff key from somewhere, we just don’t know where,” Powers said.
During testimony at the ongoing murder trial on Thursday, Judge John O. “Joe” Craig III called Jackson evasive while he was answering a line of questions from District Attorney Walt Jones about his escape from the courthouse on Monday.
When Jones asked Jackson if Jackson left his leg shackles in the toilet of the holding cell, Jackson asked Jones if he had “evidence of that.”
Jones went on to ask Jackson how he escaped from the holding cell area.
“Define escape,” Jackson asked Jones.
After having Judge Craig define escape for Jackson, and reminding him that he does not ask the questions in court but answers them, Jackson went on to tell the court that he never had on leg shackles in the holding cell and that he ran down the corridor before jumping over the atrium and landing on his back.
Jackson then testified that he ran down the stairwell towards the parking lot, jumping from the parking deck and landing on his back before hiding in some bushes.
“The dogs didn’t find me. Two dogs ran right past me,” Jackson said. “A guy that was standing there found me. The guy was pulling me out, and whoever was helping him broke my ankle.”
Powers disputes Jackson’s version of events.
“When he jumped from the fourth floor of the courthouse to the third floor, we didn’t have any reason to think he had hurt his ankle at all,” Powers said. “However, during the foot chase, he ran up the parking garage and the ground was slanted where he landed.”
Powers said the officers who retrieved Jackson from the bushes did not even touch his legs.
“There was a High Point officer there with our person, and they told him to put his hands out where we can see them. He did, they asked him to crawl out, and he said he couldn’t,” Powers said. “They gently assisted him out. He was not jerked out. His ankle was broke at that point in time, and we think it was from the second fall.”