Escaped Inmate Johnell Carter Arrested in Mississippi

SAN JOSE (KRON) — The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office announced Tuesday night that Johnell Carter, the inmate who fought and injured a deputy before escaping the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, was arrested in Mississippi.

Carter, 40, jailed on suspicion of five counts of child molestation, escaped from custody on March 6. Campbell police Capt. Gary Berg said that Carter was held to answer to the five felony charges at a preliminary hearing about a month ago but no trial date has been set.

The 5’11” tall, 220 pound inmate had been sent from the county jail to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for treatment, had escaped from custody after assaulting and injuring a deputy.

“This case became a major priority for the Marshals Service, based on the escape, the assault on the sheriff’s (deputy), as well as the charges that were facing Mr. Carter,” U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of California Donald O’Keefe said at a news conference in San Jose Wednesday morning.

According to the U.S. Marshals Service officials, Carter’s brother, 46-year-old Joseph Carter III, drove him on March 8 from the San Jose area to the Greyhound bus depot in Reno, where Johnell Carter, using his brother’s name, boarded a bus to Gulfport, Mississippi.

Authorities located Carter inside a duplex in Gulfport, and apprehended him after he tried to flee on foot, O’Keefe said.

Carter was last seen in San Jose fleeing on foot, dressed in his green-colored jail clothing, from the medical facility near the intersection of Thornton Way and Moorpark Avenue in San Jose.

The deputy who fought with Carter was treated but was not seriously hurt.

The search operation that afternoon involved 45 sheriff’s deputies, three police canine units, a sheriff’s helicopter and additional helicopters provided by the California Highway Patrol and San Jose police, but they could not locate Carter.

It doesn’t appear that Carter planned to escape from custody on March 6, Sheriff’s Sgt. Justin Harper said.

“It appears that he was waiting for an opportunity and took it when it arose,” he said.

The sheriff’s office had also contacted the family of the child who was victimized by Carter. Members of a civilian motorcycle group volunteered to help guard the home where the victim’s family resides.

On March 17, deputies got a warrant for the arrest of Joseph Carter III on suspicion of harboring and abetting a fugitive and later
marshals and deputies arrested him and his wife, he said.

On Tuesday, when U.S. marshals and deputies contacted Johnell Carter at the front door of the duplex in Gulfport, he fled through a rear door and tried to escape once again, but was caught after a foot pursuit, during which a marshal suffered a broken arm and torn bicep, O’Keefe said.

Authorities in Santa Clara County are preparing to have carter extradited back to the county jail in San Jose.

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