THE INVESTIGATORS: Inmate with violent past escapes from deputies; internal investigation ongoing

THE INVESTIGATORS: Inmate who escaped hospital has violent past, records show

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office is working to find out exactly how inmate, Cecil Williams, was able to take off in a hospital gown and slippers in the middle of the night early Sunday and sneak right past deputies who were supposed to be watching him. The daring escape ended with a nearly four-hour standoff at a home on Pocahontas Street.

“It scared the hell out of me, dude. I don’t know, but it scared me,” said Calvin Parker, who owns a business near where the standoff happened.

Perhaps even scarier though, is as it turns out, for at least six long hours, the sheriff’s office lost track of a man in jail accused of trying to kill someone. He had given deputies the slip just hours before when he escaped from Our Lady of the Lake. Doctors were treating him after he had complained of breathing problems while locked up.

“He left on foot and we’re still investigating exactly what occurred with that situation and the circumstances of how he escaped,” said EBRSO spokeswoman, Casey Rayborn Hicks.

A source close to the situation tells the 9News Investigators one of the deputies guarding Williams was asleep at the time of the escape. The sheriff’s office says they have not gotten any information to corroborate that specific accusation, but they are working to figure out how a man accused of attempted murder was able to roam free and hop on an elevator inside the hospital before taking off.

“We’re charged with the security and so that’s what we’re looking at from a security standpoint exactly what occurred, what happened to allow this to occur, and what steps can be taken to fix it and make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” said Hicks.

According to arrest records, Williams was locked up for attempted first degree murder and kidnapping just two weeks ago. The police report states after getting a ride, Williams shot a man in the back and stuffed him in the trunk of his own car. Investigators say Williams eventually dumped the man on Choctaw Drive.

Williams has a violent past. He was also arrested back in December of 2017. An arrest warrant from that case shows he got into a fight with his girlfriend, hitting her in the face before breaking several windows on the 75th Avenue home, then allegedly set the place on fire.

Cecil Williams
Cecil Williams (Source: EBRSO)

He pleaded guilty to simple arson in the case and was sentenced to three years behind bars. The Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC) tells WAFB he was released a year after he was sentenced. Five months after getting out, he was back in jail, accused of trying to kill a man. DOC representatives released the following statement:

“Cecil Williams released from Caldwell Parish Prison on goodtime parole on Sept. 27, 2019. His sentences were ordered to be served concurrently, rather than consecutively. Had Williams sentences been ordered to be served consecutively, he would have been incarcerated at the time of his recent crimes. Because Williams spent part of his time incarcerated in local jail facilities, he did not receive any programming during the time he was incarcerated. But, as part of Justice Reinvestment, the state recently started investing part of its criminal justice savings in programming for local level jails, to benefit inmates just like Williams. Under JRI, state operated facilities began implementing rehabilitation programs in 2018, and they have shown encouraging improvements.”

The sheriff’s office claims Williams was shackled to the hospital bed before he took off Sunday. Right now, it’s unclear how the man with a history of violence and charged with such a serious crime was able to get out of those cuffs and out of the hospital right under the noses of those trusted to watch him.

“We’re very glad that no one else was hurt in this situation and he is back in custody,” said Hicks.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter also reached out to Our Lady of the Lake. A spokesperson for the hospital says they cannot comment on the situation until after the EBRSO investigation has wrapped up. Right now, there’s no timeline on when the internal probe will be complete.

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