6 arrested in probe of Florida inmates' escape -- including escapees themselves

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Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 11:07pm

(CNN) -- Two murderers who allegedly used forged documents to escape from a Florida prison and four other men were arrested Thursday in connection with an alleged scheme that created the equivalent of a get-out-of-prison-free card and ensured the pair's escape, a state official announced.

The six -- all current or former Department of Corrections inmates -- were charged with a combined total of 37 crimes, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey told reporters in Tallahassee.

He offered new details Thursday about the alleged plot, which embarrassed state authorities when it was revealed last fall.

Those arrested include Charles Walker, 35, and Joseph Jenkins, 34, whom authorities recaptured in October after they allegedly used bogus documents to gain their release from prison.

Walker and Jenkins, convicted of unrelated murders, had been serving life terms without the possibility of parole at the Franklin Correctional Institution in North Carrabelle, Florida, when they escaped.

Jenkins walked out September 27; Walker left October 8.

Law enforcement learned of the escapes after a family member of Jenkins' victim contacted the state attorney's office to ask about the convict's release, Ninth Circuit State Attorney Jeffrey L. Ashton said at the time.

Authorities said both men had used fraudulent release documents bearing phony signatures, including those of the Orlando-area state attorney and Judge Belvin Perry Jr., the chief judge in Florida's Ninth Judicial Circuit, plus the seal of the Orange County clerk of court's office.

Police and U.S. marshals recaptured both men on October 19 at a motel in Panama City Beach, two hours west of the prison. Both locations are on the Florida Panhandle.

Also arrested on Thursday was Nydeed Nashaddai, 48, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Suwannee County Correctional Institution, and had been scheduled for release in 2031.

"We now know that Nashaddai was the engineer of the scheme," having used it in a "somewhat successful" attempt to escape in 2009 from Pinellas County Jail, Bailey said.

While incarcerated in Franklin Correctional Institution, Nashaddai "taught and assisted" both Jenkins and Jeffrey Forbes, 30, who is in Florida State Prison serving a life sentence for attempted murder.

In 2011, "all three attempted escape using this scheme," Bailey said.

This year, Jenkins helped create and submit the fraudulent release orders for himself and for Walker, Bailey added.

A former inmate, Willie Slater, 36, "helped from outside the wall" by making sure that the forged documents were delivered to the Orange County clerk's office, he said.

Jenkins and Slater "have an interesting history," according to Bailey, who said that, in 2009, Jenkins created a phony affidavit and testified untruthfully in the defense of Slater, who had been convicted of home invasion. "Jenkins testified that he, Jenkins, had committed that crime that Slater was imprisoned for and, because of the Jenkins lie, Slater's burglary conviction was overturned in September 2009, and he was released from prison."

Bailey said Nashaddai, Jenkins and Forbes created the fraudulent papers used in this year's escape while they were inside the prison, then had it submitted to the clerk's office and filed as an order of the court. "Once the clerks had accepted the fraudulent order, they notified the Department of Corrections of the sentence modification," and voila, Jenkins and Walter were released.

There's more.

As they were being released, the two men turned to a former inmate colleague named Terrance Goodman, 37, for help, Bailey said. Jenkins and Goodman had met in prison while Goodman was serving 15 years for murder and the two men stayed in touch after Goodman got out, according to Bailey. It was Goodman who provided transportation for Jenkins and Walter to Panama City Beach, where he rented a motel room for them, he said.

Authorities said they had been investigating inmate schemes to forge release documents for a year, and had warned state prosecutors last summer to be alert to such plots.

CNN's Tom Watkins, Debra Goldschmidt and Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.

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