, Corbin, KY

Local News

April 4, 2013

Whitley jail inmate on the loose

Sheriff criticizes jailer for lack of notice about escape, jailer denies claim


By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

A Whitley County Detention Center inmate walked away from a work detail Monday, and that has led to several questions concerning information sharing among two Whitley County departments — the sheriff’s department and the jail.

Whitley County Jailer Ken Mobley confirmed Shannon Wynn, 34, jailed for charges of manufacturing methamphetamine, left “off a work release (program) at the Kentucky State Highway Garage.” This happened about 12:30 p.m. during a lunch break at the garage, he said.

“We’ve been looking for him ever since,” Mobley added.

Wednesday night, Mobley said law enforcement “got close” to capturing Wynn in a wooded area near KY 92, but he got away.

According to the Whitley County Circuit Court clerk’s office, Wynn was given a bench warrant March 26 for both failing to appear for court and failing to pay fines from previous convictions.

Mobley explained the protocol his jail follows upon the discovery of a missing inmate.

“Right after (Wynn) walked we called 911 Dispatch,” he said. “There were two deputies in the booking area, and they were handed sheets (concerning Wynn’s escape).”

One of those deputies, Mobley said, was Shawn Jackson.

Besides the dispatchers, Mobley also said state police were notified, as well as the Williamsburg Police Department. Mobley added that Wynn’s information was given to the National Crime Information Center. He said that NCIC spreads the word not only to local agencies and statewide, but also “from Florida up to Canada — it’s nationwide.”

But Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell said he learned of the escape not from jail officials — but from a citizen in the community asking how the search was going Tuesday night.

“I felt like I was in ‘The Twilight Zone,’” Harrell said Wednesday. “This is nothing but ‘good ol’ boy’ stuff.”

Harrell said not only was the sheriff’s department “never notified,” but when he contacted Kentucky State Police, he said they were unaware of Wynn’s escape.

He did receive official notice via fax at 11:54 a.m. Tuesday — an arrest warrant notice from Frankfort, signed by Jeff Burton with the Kentucky Department of Corrections.

“That’s one full day later,” Harrell said. “Where could he go in that time?”

Harrell expressed concern that someone with a criminal history like Wynn would be permitted to participate in a work-release program. “He was convicted of manufacturing meth,” Harrell said. “While probated for that, (KSP Trooper) David Lassiter caught him manufacturing meth again, and he got a bunch of other charges on him then, too.”

That arrest came in January.

“The rules for the work release program have to be looked at a little harder,” Harrell said. “(These crews) work around the courthouse, and I have known them to work on or near school facilities.”

Mobley said that he has crews which perform various duties for the county, including road crews who pick up litter and garbage and crews that do county mowing. “I’ve got a crew in Corbin at the recycling department, too,” Mobley said, adding work release crews sometimes do beautification work for the Tourism Office.

Concerning Wynn’s assignment at the state garage, Mobley said the garage has a contract for inmates “to work directly” with the Kentucky Department of Transportation to clean up debris from storm damage, clean out culverts, clear trees or mudslide material.

But Mobley admitted this wasn’t the first escape from the Detention Center. “We’ve had five or six (inmates escape), and the jail recaptured them with no help from the sheriff’s department,” Mobley said. He added that when two inmates, Tracy Sisk and Jessie Terry, escaped, his jail personnel “spent 12 days and nights” searching for them before their recapture.

“The KSP was there, Constable (Ron) Bowling, the Williamsburg Police Department — but no sheriff’s department whatsoever have helped,” Mobley said.

He reiterated that the deputies seen in the booking area were told of Wynn’s escape. “I can’t help it if they don’t tell (Harrell),” Mobley said. “But Whitley (Sheriff’s Department) has never helped us with a walk-off.”

“I have yet to see a sheriff car on any walk-off,” Mobley added. “And this time it ain’t going to be no different.”

But Harrell said he would be glad to help. “It’s hard to assist when we are not made aware (of an inmate’s escape),” Harrell said. “And I really question telling (the deputies) since the warrant was not issued until (April) 2nd.”

He believes the community should be quickly warned if an inmate becomes a fugitive. “If I asked the people if this is the way they wanted it, I’m pretty sure most of them would say ‘no,’” Harrell said. “I’m sure this is not what the people in the community want — they want more responsibility in decision making.”

Harrell also feels it was too soon to allow Wynn a work-release detail, adding he felt Wynn’s charges should have kept him behind bars. “This blows my mind,” Harrell said. “In January he got his second charges of making meth, and in March, he’s certified as a trusty.”

He questioned the decision to allow Wynn to be a trusty.

“If these are the rules (for allowing an inmate to become a trusty), then they need to be changed,” Harrell said. “This is awful.”

According to Mobley, there are three classification levels for inmates, and those are determined by the state Department of Corrections. Both Level 1 and Level 2 classified inmates are permitted to work outside of the jail facility — Level 3 must remain behind locked doors.

“They (the D.O.C.) classify the inmates,” Mobley said, adding the D.O.C. is supplied inmate information to determine the classification.

Mobley said Wynn was classified as a Level 1 inmate. “All Level 1 inmates can go out and work in the community,” he said.

But in the event those trusties do leave their work detail, Harrell feels a better policy should be in place. “Any time the Department of Corrections or the Detention Center want a policy written up on how to get the word out, let me know,” Harrell said.

Wynn is not officially considered “armed and dangerous,” however, Harrell said people “should be very very cautious about approaching him.”

Mobley said law enforcement will continue the search.

If any citizen knows the location of Wynn, contact the jail at (606) 549-6027, or sheriff’s department at (606) 549-6006, or 911 dispatch.

Text Only
Local News
  • TODAY'S HEADLINES — July 23, 2014

    Couple pleads not guilty to abuse

    W’burg Supt. evaluation postponed

    NIBROC: Just Lose It finalists announced

    NIBROC releases Kids Activities schedule

    Corbin woman appointed to Ky. Board of Education

    Tri-County water treatment plants exceed quality standards

    Man admits to having sex with minor

    July 23, 2014

  • 0722 Mike Corey & David Thompson FOR WEB.jpg David Thompson to run again

    The mayor’s race in Barbourville will have a familiar name on the November ballot.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Restaurants not paying new tax

    Monday’s meeting of the London Tourism and Convention Commission revealed that some restaurants within the city aren’t paying the new restaurant tax.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722 Corbin Police officers FOR WEB.jpg Police dismissals averted, for now

    The fates of four Corbin Police officers’ jobs have been spared for the time being.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dirk Shelton funeral arrangements set

    The funeral arrangements for Staff Sergeant Dirk Shelton have been released.

    July 22, 2014

  • Attorney, judge file motions to withdraw from case

    Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Trimble and Judge Paul Winchester filed motions to remove themselves from a solicitation to commit murder case Monday.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0721 CORBIN GROUP FOR WEB.jpg Three and Out

    After Saturday’s dramatic walk-off win over Campbellsville it looked like the Corbin Little League All Stars were destined to advanced past pool play in the state tournament.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0722 police roundup vandlism pic FOR WEB.jpg POLICE ROUNDUP: 6 juveniles charged for vandalism of delivery trucks

    Broken windshields, pried-open doors and other damage hit several Flav-O-Rich delivery trucks early Monday morning — and the six culprits were all allegedly juveniles.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0721 WEB drugs and money seized.jpg Six arrested in drug investigation

    Staff Report
    Six people were arrested Saturday on drug charges after a joint investigation by the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office and the London Police Department, according to Laurel County Sheriff John Root.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0721 WEB shelter cat 3458.jpg Shelter seeks help

    By Kristina Smith
    Staff Writer
    Renovating a 10,000-square-foot building isn’t easy, but Knox-Whitley Animal Shelter Director Deanna Myers is up to the task.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Bodies of Malaysia Jet Victims Leave Ukraine Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter