On-duty jailer may have aided in prisoner escape

Saturday, May 31st 2008, 12:04 am
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

A few weeks ago, Mitchell Shults escaped from the Pontotoc County Jail in Ada, Okla. Investigators believed he simply picked the lock on his cell and left.

Shults is back in custody, but after more investigating deputies now say Shults didn't pick the lock after all.

Shults is facing a life sentence for a drug court violation. The inmate told investigators a jailer didn't think the punishment fit the crime, so he helped Shults escape.

David Lee Richard, an on-duty jailer working for Pontotoc County, now accused of aiding Shults in escaping the jail earlier this month.

Investigators said surveillance videos inside and outside show it all.

"The on-duty jailer used the remote lock button on the inside the jail to unlock the door," Undersheriff Joe Glover said.

Shults eventually confessed to Pontotoc County officials that he didn't escape, because the on duty jailer let him out by unlocking the door.

"I believe the inmate duped the jailer into going along with this escape plan," Glover said.

Richard is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of assisting a prisoner to escape from the county jail; charges he denies.

"We're very disappointed and also shocked that one of our employees would do such a thing, especially for an inmate like Mitchell Shults, someone who is facing life in prison," Glover said.

Mitchell Shults also faces additional charges stemming from the escape. Richard is currently out on bond.