Inmate Escapes at TX Walmart, Stabs FL Transporting Officer

Christopher Dorner isn't the only wanted man on the loose. In Grapevine, Texas, an inmate being transported from from Miami to Las Vegas to serve a prison sentence stabbed an officer with a broken pair of eyeglasses and escaped in a Walmart parking lot near Houston. What were they doing at Walmart? The inmate made a big fuss on the plane from Miami to Houston, and the airline wouldn't let him board the next leg of the flight to Vegas, so the Miami cops transporting him decided to rent a car and drive him to Dallas, where they planned to meet another officer and then all would drive the inmate to Vegas. En route to Dallas, the officers stopped at Walmart so one could use the bathroom. The other stayed with the inmate, got stabbed, and the inmate fled. He also managed to free himself of his handcuffs. [More...]

The inmate, Alberto Morales, was shackled to a belly band when he stabbed the officer. He had been sentenced in Florida to a term of ten years to life in November, which was to run consecutive to a sentence in Nevada. They were returning him to Nevada to serve that sentence.

The Miami police are defending the procedures used, but they don't make much sense.

Renting a car to transport a convict cross-country is “out of the ordinary, but to continue their trip they had to do something.” He said Miami authorities were informed of their change in plans, per standard guidelines.

I'm no expert on inmate transport, but why didn't they have the back up officer meet them in Houston at the airport, instead of in Dallas? Surely the the Houston airport has a lockup facility they could have put the inmate in while they waited. And if not, couldn't a local TX officer at the Houston airport have assisted in transporting him to the Harris County Jail to wait for the Florida backup?

Why didn't the officer who stayed with the inmate step out of the car when the other cop exited and lock the vehicle with the inmate inside, guarding it while waiting for the officer to return? At least that way, his weapon would have been accessible if the inmate tried to exit the vehicle.

The inmate is currently on the loose, somewhere around Grapevine, Texas.

Among his myriad felonies: kidnapping with a weapon, aggravated battery and sexual battery with a deadly weapon.

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  • Display: Sort:
    He Picked the Wrong State... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:28:00 PM EST
    ...to pull this business, I pity the fool that tries to be a fugitive in Texas.  They will get theirs, especially since that article indicates he will be charged with a whole host of new crimes including "attempted murder of a police officer and escape".

    I had no idea they transported violent criminals using commercial airlines and that the airlines could toss them mid transport.  That system is conducive for escape attempts.

    Am (none / 0) (#4)
    by lentinel on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 07:11:59 PM EST
    I alone in thinking that I don't particularly want a convicted felon being transported by armed police in a plane in which I am also a passenger?

    No, you are not (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 08:12:43 AM EST
    I'm not so much concerned with the armed officers (there are armed air marshals on some/many flights). They are trained professionals, and while I guess there's always a chance one of them could have a nutty, the chances are very good that you would never even know they carried a weapon aboard.

    I'm way more concerned with being on a plane with a convicted felon, especially one who was convicted of armed burglary, kidnapping, aggravated battery and sexual assault with a deadly weapon. This was not someone who was busted for securities fraud or something. This is a truly violent man, who, at this point, has nothing to lose.

    I'm going to bet that a vast majority of people feel the way you and I do.


    i hope so (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 02:03:22 AM EST
    I'm amazed people hold that view. Do you think you own the air people travel through just because you bought a plane ticket? Inmates and convicted felons aren't lepers.

    it is not a question of owning the air (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by nyjets on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:27:09 AM EST
    It has nothing to do with owning the air. A person is just concerned for their safety being in an airplane with an inmate or convicted felon. An airplane is an enclosed space.
    Unlike a public bus or train which is more open.

    That expresses (none / 0) (#12)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:49:23 AM EST
    what I feel, the enclosed space.
    I am already slightly claustrophobic in the squished seating - and having some more folks on the planes with loaded guns is not something I relish adding to the mix.

    I'd be more perturbed... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:05:23 AM EST
    by armed police on the plane...I wouldn't mind flying with a convict.

    As a female (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by jbindc on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:07:12 AM EST
    The idea of a violent sex offender being on a plane with me is much more abhorrent to me than a police officer.

    Yes. I see your point. (none / 0) (#19)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:23:23 AM EST
    I guess ultimately, what is most troubling for me is the fact that we are kept in the dark as to whom our co-passengers might be - and whether or not they will be armed.

    I get on a plane infrequently, but when I do it is with the expectation that everyone is either on vacation, on some business trip, or going somewhere for personal reasons.

    I don't consider that the vehicle in which I am temporarily imprisoned is being used by the government for some purpose which neither they nor the airline has deemed it necessary to reveal to the rest of us.


    I don't feel like... (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:18:53 AM EST
    I have the right to know who the other passengers are on a plane, a train, a bus, or any other mode of transport.  Who they are is their business, who I am is mine.  

    Then again, I'm not the type to look up sex offenders in the neighborhood or otherwise pry in other people's business or backgrounds...that whole bag creeps me out as part of the greater surveillance society bullsh*t we live under. I also question why you even need ID to travel on a domestic flight. Everybody so afraid of one another...I don't get it.

    If I wanna get to know somebody, I don't request a copy of their criminal record or look up their school records...what ever happened to extending your hand and introducing yourself and getting to know them?


    Things (none / 0) (#24)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:23:18 AM EST
    keep spinning around.

    I am not interested either in examining the dossiers of fellow passengers.

    But, I repeat, I feel a little uneasy if that fellow passenger is accompanied by someone with a loaded weapon.


    With you there... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 11:33:39 AM EST
    maybe an airline can offer both unarmed flights and armed flights, and give consumers the option of how they wanna fly.

    Wouldn't (none / 0) (#26)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:22:31 PM EST
    you like to see a group portrait of the ones who choose to fly with fellas and gals who are all carrying guns, knifes, hatchets and bows and arrows?

    Yes. (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 09:17:55 AM EST
    That's what I was trying to express.

    It's the combination of someone potentially trying to escape - like the guy with the knife - coupled with some armed police who might begin firing. Not my cup of tea.

    And - if I have to choose between an unarmed convict as a neighbor and gendarmes with guns as neighbors, I'll take the convict any day.

    Incidentally, after 9/11, I spotted some officer on the plane near the pilot's cabin with a gun. He was there ostensibly to protect us, but it made me nervous. Same with troop transport. Once I was flying to Europe and one section was filled with troops on their way to some trouble spot. That made me nervous as well. Not that they were armed... but some schlob might consider them as eligible targets and we would all be along for the ride.

    Jeez Louise!


    Armed police (none / 0) (#20)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:42:07 AM EST

    Get used to it.  Marshals (not just the air type) fly commercial armed as a matter of routine.  If you fly much, you have probably been on such a flight.  It is probably better such folk fly armed than give a TSA or baggage handler thief a chance to steal a checked gun.



    It's (none / 0) (#11)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:47:36 AM EST
    not the leprosy factor that is disturbing to me.

    It is the fact that there is someone on the plane, perhaps thinking of a means of escape, accompanied by people with loaded guns.

    I don't like having loaded guns around me.

    But, I am probably alone in that.


    you are not (none / 0) (#13)
    by nyjets on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:53:47 AM EST
    I do not like guns either. And for there to be guns in a plane with someone thinking of escape as you said can be a scary prospect.

    What ? (none / 0) (#22)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:58:57 AM EST
    Are you seriously going to take that stand in this post.  Clearly these people are dangerous, and I'd rather not be in the stratosphere with someone who's looking at a long incarceration and has nothing to lose that has a proven track record of using violence.

    This man was going to prison for 10 years, society doesn't want him intermingling with it for at least 10 years.  Do you think this clown would not have stabbed you me or a kid had he believed it would aid in his escape ?

    You are right, they aren't lepers, because lepers wouldn't stab a police officer.  These are worse, and since the story isn't done, we don't know exactly how dangerous this guy will get.

    But that wasn't even my point, my point was we are using a method that isn't secure in that if a prisoner throws a fit, they would be stranded with a make-shift plan which is ripe for escape.  Which is exactly what happened.

    And for the record, when I buy a ticket, I do expect not to be in a plane with a violent felon being transported to serve a long sentence by armed officers.  If that means my taxes are raised, then raise them.  But not knowing, not giving me the choice as to whom is on my flight is very alarming.  As this story proves, desperate men, with violent pasts, are unpredictable.

    I respect that you don't mind, but we should be aware and have the right to make that decision ourselves, it should not be thrust upon us.  This is not like a bus, where at any moment should anyone feel in danger or uncomfortable, they can remove themselves from the situation.

    And lastly, I find it very odd for someone who believes we need the right to own the tools to defend ourselves against the unknown, that that right is absolute, who is taking a stand which does not even allow me to decide if I am to be in an enclosed space with a convicted violent felon.  You want a gun to protect yourself, it is so out-of-line for me to want to know there aren't any convicted violent felons on a plane I am boarding accompanied by armed officers who may or may not have the ability to control said prisoner ?


    They may also travel by public bus (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 02:07:36 AM EST
    Apparently, (none / 0) (#14)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 05:57:02 AM EST
    the "felons" on the busses have either already served their time, or are non-violent minimum security offenders who are not deemed to require armed escorts.

    In any case, Greyhound appears to have been unaware of this practice.

    Frankly, it is the guns of the escorts in an enclosed space in which I am a prisoner that scare me.


    But a bus driver can stop fairly quickly (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 10:52:09 AM EST
    when trouble ensues, at least faster than landing a plane.

    I have no problem in principle with the air transport of prisoners, but it is scary to think that a broken pair of glasses is all that is standing between me and chaos when I fly.


    Scott, it's the cost (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 02:12:11 AM EST
    the states can't afford private planes.

    The feds spend $45 million a year transporting prisoners on "Con Air" aka Jpats

    On average, JPATS completes over 280,000 prisoner/alien movements per year. A network of aircraft, cars, vans and buses accomplishes these coordinated movements. JPATS operates a fleet of aircraft which moves prisoners over long distances more economically and with higher security than commercial airlines. Nearly all air movements are done aboard large and small jets that JPATS owns or leases. Ground transportation is usually provided by the Marshals Service, ICE and the BOP.

    JPATS is the only government-operated, regularly scheduled passenger airline in the nation. JPATS routinely serves approximately 40 domestic and international cities, plus other major cities in the United States on an as-required basis.

    Detailed itineraries are required to ensure that each prisoner appears in court at a designated time. All scheduling is handled at JPATS headquarters, located in Kansas City, MO. The Air fleet operations center is in Oklahoma City, OK with a hub in Las Vegas.

    I wonder if (none / 0) (#28)
    by Zorba on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:36:11 PM EST
    the states could make some kind of deal with the Feds.  If a JPATS flight is going to be flying to a city (or near a city) that a state needs to transport a prisoner to, why can't they send the prisoner and his accompanying officer on the Federal flight, paying the Feds what they would have paid a commercial airline?  That way, the Feds at least get some outside money for a flight they were going to make anyway.
    I realize that there would not be an available federal prisoner flight for all state transportees, but there must be some intersect at least some of the time.

    My guess is that (none / 0) (#29)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:40:59 PM EST
    to the 51 massive bureaucracies involved this would be such a piddling trifle that no one would spend an ounce of energy even considering it.

    Probably (none / 0) (#30)
    by Zorba on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:51:04 PM EST
    But it would serve to keep at least a few state transportees out of commercial flights.
    Not that the Feds would care about this aspect of it.
    Although you would think that the TSA would prefer to have fewer convicts on commercial flights........

    more to the point, (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:09:19 PM EST
    what purpose was being served, by transporting him almost clear across the country, to a jail in nevada, when there are plenty of jails in FL he could have been placed in? what genius decided this made sense? i'm guessing the jail in nevada is a privately owned and operated one, that the state of nevada has a contract with, and had a bed that needed filling.

    just a guess.

    Because he was sentenced first (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 02:16:30 AM EST
    in Nevada for a Nevada crime and has to serve that sentence before he can serve the Florida sentence. Nevada sentenced him, it has to  pay to warehouse him. It can't ask Florida to pick up the tab. All state prisons are over-crowded and have budget problems. Why would Florida pick up Nevada's tab?

    I seem to remember it was a pair (none / 0) (#2)
    by Peter G on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 04:27:41 PM EST
    of broken eyeglasses that served as the weapon and tool by which the Wesley Snipes character made his escape near the beginning of the excellent thriller U.S. Marshals.

    Just fyi about TX (none / 0) (#5)
    by SuzieTampa on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:27:49 PM EST
    I grew up in Irving, which borders Grapevine. For the most part, Grapevine is a well-off suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. Most of the DFW airport is in Grapevine.

    this event has nothing to do with guns (none / 0) (#27)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 12:33:55 PM EST
    It has to do with transporting a mentally ill violent inmate. Please stay on topic, which is how he should have been transported, especially given the knowledge he was mentally ill and violent.

    A new thread on the story is here.

    Is a prisoner traveling (none / 0) (#31)
    by fishcamp on Wed Feb 13, 2013 at 01:11:08 PM EST
    on a commercial flight with an armed guard handcuffed to the guard?