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  1. #1
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    Escaped Convicted NC Murderer James Ladd Apprehended

    A large-scale manhunt was under way Sunday and Monday for a man serving three life sentences in connection with the murders of two people on a Yadkin County farm in 1980.

    James Ladd, 51, was working on a tractor on a prison farm at Tillery Correctional Center in Halifax County on Sunday morning when he escaped, said Keith Acree, a spokesman of the North Carolina Department of Correction.

    The abandoned tractor was found about 10 a.m.

    The search continued overnight Sunday, as crews with bloodhounds scoured the area and a Highway Patrol helicopter crew looked from the sky. More than 60 members of the Prison Emergency Response Team and prison officers were activated, along with searchers from other state agencies.

    Ladd is white, with graying hair. He had a beard, but authorities say he may have shaved it off since his escape. He is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 140 pounds. He was wearing a pair of green pants and a white T-shirt when he escaped.

    Ladd was convicted in 1981 and would have been sent to death row save for one vote. The jury was deadlocked 11-1 to impose the death penalty after more than seven hours of deliberations, when the jury forewoman told the judge that the holdout juror said she didn't believe in capital punishment and "I'm not changing my mind under any circumstances."

    Ladd was 19 and from the Union Grove area of Iredell County at the time he was convicted.

    The killings happened at the Henderson family farm off Shiloh Church Road in Yadkin County. Both men were shot in the back of the neck with a high-powered rifle.

    A man testified during the trial that the night before the killings, Ladd had talked about wanting to kill and rob Johnny Parks Henderson, a cattle dealer.

    Ladd was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting and killing Henderson, 25, of Hamptonville. He was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting and killing David Gwynn Edwards, 22, of Ennice.

    Henderson was robbed of about $12,000, leading to Ladd's armed robbery charge and conviction, and the third life sentence.

    Henderson was the brother of Jack Henderson, who was sheriff of Yadkin County at the time of the killings.

    The trial was moved to the Surry County seat of Dobson.

    A psychiatrist testified that Ladd lived in a fantasy world and was mentally ill. He said that Ladd, who weighed about 120 pounds at the time of the killings, exhibited a "Popeye syndrome" in which a small person sees himself and what he can do in a larger-than-life image.

    Prison officials said Ladd had a relatively good prison disciplinary record, with no violent infractions. He had worked his way through the system for the privilege of being at Tillery, a minimum-security prison, and a job at the 7,000-acre farm.

    If Ladd had been convicted under the current structured sentencing law, he would have been sentenced either to death or to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    But the law was different when Ladd was sentenced.

    He became eligible for parole after serving 30 years. He was denied parole in January 2011, and at the time of his escape had been scheduled for his next parole review in 2014, prison officials said.

    Pamela Walker, a spokeswoman for the DOC, said all inmates other than those sentenced to death or life without parole have the opportunity to work their way into minimum custody and prepare for their eventual release. Currently 382 inmates with life sentences are housed in minimum security.

    Many of those inmates are assigned to Tillery, where inmates work in prison farming operations in preparation for re-entering society.

    "Inmate farm workers are supervised, but not continuously monitored," Walker said Monday. "Depending on their job assignment, some inmates have direct supervision and some have graduated to a level where they are checked on periodically."

    Records show Ladd is the seventh North Carolina inmate to escape in 2012. All the others have been recaptured. The last two inmates who escaped Tillery, in December 2007, were apprehended two days later in South Carolina.

    The last convicted murderer to escape, 47-year-old Martin Pedron, also absconded from Tillery. Pedron is still at large.

    The prison is located in a rural area more than an hour's drive east of Raleigh.

    http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2012...er-ar-2634243/
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  2. #2
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    A modest proposal: those serving life sentences, whether eligible for parole or not, should not be placed in minimum-security facilities.

  3. #3
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    September 27, 2012

    Escaped killer captured in Halifax County

    Halifax, N.C. — A murderer who walked away from a prison farm Sunday morning was recaptured Thursday morning in a garage in Halifax County, authorities said.

    James Ladd Jr., 51, was serving three consecutive life sentences for two 1980 murders when he left work at an unfenced prison farm at Tillery Correctional Center in Halifax County.

    Dozens of law enforcement officers from various state and local agencies searched day and night for close to 100 hours before correction officers and agents with the state Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement apprehended him shortly before 11 a.m. about 10 miles from the prison, authorities said.

    The officers and agents were following up on a tip along N.C. Highway 125 near Scotland Neck when a driver stopped and alerted them about a man he had just seen running from the woods toward a nearby home, authorities said.

    Authorities began searching the area and found Ladd hiding in a garage attached to the home. He was taken into custody without incident.

    "It is a big relief to know that we recaptured him," said Oliver Washington, superintendent of Tillery Correctional Center.

    The driver's sighting was the second tip about Ladd in the Scotland Neck area early Thursday.

    Brent Bass told authorities that he thought Ladd tried to break into his home Wednesday night. The family heard someone trying to get in the back door, and they later found footprints in a backyard sandbox.

    "Last night, I didn't really sleep all that well. It didn't really sit good with me knowing someone was trying to get into my house," said Bass, who lives a few miles from where Ladd was caught.

    Ladd told authorities that he had been sleeping in the woods and eating acorns since his escape, Washington said.

    The state Department of Public Safety transported Ladd to maximum-security Central Prison in Raleigh, where he faces an escape charge as well as prison disciplinary charges.

    "He won't be coming back to Tillery any time soon," Washington said.

    Ladd robbed and killed Johnny Henderson and David Edwards on a Yadkin County farm on Nov. 26, 1980. He was convicted of first- and second-degree murder and armed robbery.

    Despite his life sentences, he had a good record behind bars, which allowed him to be shifted to Tillery Correctional Center, a minimum-security facility, DPS spokesman Keith Acree said.

    All North Carolina prison inmates, with the exception of those sentenced to death or life without parole, have the opportunity to work their way into minimum-security custody to prepare for their eventual release, Acree said. They must be within five years of the date of their release or parole eligibility.

    Ladd became eligible for parole last year, after serving 30 years in prison. He was denied parole and is scheduled for another parole review in 2014.

    Many inmates at Tillery Correctional Center work on two unfenced prison farms. DPS officials have said a guard was supposed to check on Ladd periodically, noting that some inmates aren't supervised on the farms.

    Washington said prison procedures would be reviewed, but it's unclear whether any changes will be made.

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/11598551/

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