Hopkins County jailbreak
4:21 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Escapees caught in Cooper

The two men who escaped from the Hopkins County jail Tuesday morning were captured late Thursday afternoon in Cooper.

Two-day chase

Brian Allen Tucker, a 45-year-old capital murder suspect from Sulphur Springs, and John Marlin King, a 40-year-old from Cumby convicted of burglary, escaped at about 8 a.m. Tuesday morning by breaching a fence at the county jail, officials said.

After about 55 hours on the run, Tucker and King's flight ended about 20 miles away from the county jail where they were returned to custody Thursday evening.

A multi-agency team of law enforcement officials located the two men hiding in the attic of a barn on the property of a house on the east side of Cooper, the county seat of nearby Delta County.

King and Tucker were taken into custody at 4:47 p.m., said Hopkins County sheriff Butch Adams. The escapees were captured without any injury to either law enforcement officers or the subjects, Adams said. No gunshots were fired, he said.

Adams expressed relief that the manhunt ended and said he was also reassured about the welfare of those who might have encountered Tucker and King.

“I’m more relieved by the fact that I don’t have to worry about something else happening to a citizen of my county or any other county,”  Adams said.

A tip from someone in Commerce led officers to raid the property in Cooper, Adams said. Delta County sheriff's department officials arrested two men living at the house. No further information about those men was available Thursday, although Adams said one or both could face charges for assisting Tucker and King.

Adams said the team of combined forces in the raid numbered "about 20 or 30" law enforcement officers.

"I bet I haven't slept six hours in the last two days since all this is happened," Sulphur Springs resident Sherri Sims said late Thursday.

"We're just relieved - the whole town, Hopkins County, Sulphur Springs, the whole surrounding areas - we are relieved," Sims said. "We thank God nobody was hurt."

Capture follows Wednesday scramble

After the Tuesday morning escape, the men's jail uniforms were found on nearby train tracks, officials said. At least one local resident reported seeing the men shortly after the escape, they said.

The search continued through the day Tuesday and into the night, as a front bringing cool, wet weather moved through the region Wednesday.

A tip received Wednesday afternoon had both law enforcement officers and area residents hopeful that a capture would be imminent.

King was reported by a local woman to be in far northwest Hopkins County late Wednesday afternoon, said Sgt. Brad Cummings of the Hopkins County sheriff's department. The woman, whose identifying information was not released, is an acquaintance of King’s who lives just southeast of Commerce on a farm-to-market road off of State Hwy. 11, Cummings said.

King reportedly sought food from the woman, who obliged his request, officials said. King then left in a black SUV, the driver of which she could not identify, they said.

A black SUV -  a 2010 Saturn Vue with Texas license plate CR6 D 425 - was reported stolen from Sulphur Springs on Wednesday, Cummings said. It was stolen from a residence on Houston Street in Sulphur Springs, he said. There was a handgun in the SUV,  Cummings said.

Law enforcement officers increased their search in the eastern Hunt County-northwestern Hopkins County area in response to the report. The Commerce Walmart's parking lot served as an impromptu command center for law enforcement.

But, with marked and unmarked official vehicles swarming the highways and back roads of the area, Wednesday evening and night passed with no further confirmed sightings, Cummings said. One late-night tip that the SUV was on a Hunt County road west of Commerce yielded nothing, he said.

The stolen SUV was recovered near the site of the raid Thursday afternoon, Adams said. When asked about the gun, Adams said that evidence was being gathered, but he did not know whether the gun that had been in the SUV was recovered.

Multi-agency law enforcement effort

Texas Rangers, U.S. Marshals, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Corrections staff, Sulphur Springs police and area county sheriff's departments all aided the search, said Sgt. Brad Cummings of the Hopkins County sheriff's department. The effort included a DPS helicopter and TDC dogs, he said.

Tucker was being held on $1 million bond in the 2011 death of Bobby Riley of Mahoney. Riley was found strangled in his home and some music instruments and firearms had been stolen. Jury selection in his murder trial was set to begin June 3.

Tucker was previously convicted of burglary and driving while intoxicated, and has been arrested several times for violating parole.

King was being held on several charges, including evading arrest, burglary and possession of a controlled substance. He’s been convicted previously of burglary and possession of a controlled substance. According to court documents, he pleaded guilty last month to the possession charge as a habitual offender and received a sentence of 40 years in prison.

The two escaped by damaging a chain-link fence in the jail's recreation yard and slipping through an open space in the structure.

"They were able to manipulate the joint where it comes together, and they were able to unscrew the bolts and pry the fencing back," Cummings said.

Tucker and King will be arraigned on new charges Friday, Adams said.

EDIT: Charles Richard Ensey, 62, of Cooper remained in custody at the Delta County jail late Friday. His father, Ken Ensey, was detained Thursday and later released. Both men live at the house in Cooper, 1050 E. Dallas Ave., where the raid occurred.