Murder suspect sentenced for jail escape
Accused murderer Christopher Horton, 28, was sentenced to three years at hard labor on Wednesday by District Judge Paul deMahy for his Feb. 2 escape from the St. Mary Parish prison in Centerville, according to Tony Saleme, assistant district attorney.
Horton was awaiting trial for first-degree murder in a robbery and killing of his brother Adam Horton on Sept. 2, 2007. His trial has been delayed because of questions regarding his mental competency.
Horton pleaded guilty to simple escape with no sentencing agreement prior to Wednesday’s plea and waived his right to a sentencing delay before being sentenced. The district attorney’s office dismissed a misdemeanor charge arising for a Dec. 15 incident at the prison where Horton was charged for vandalizing his cell, the same one he escaped from in February.
The arrest report from the December incident accused Horton of tearing down a vent from the ceiling of his cell to break a window, after becoming angry about a discipline write-up.
Horton and accused thief Joshua Folks, 36, escaped through the ceiling of their adjoining cells about 10:30 p.m. and were noticed missing from their cells at approximately 4 the next morning during a periodic check of inmates, Traci Landry, sheriff’s spokeswoman, said in a news release.
The prisoners left cement blocks in their beds to look like they were still in their cells, according to a police affidavit.
Horton was located two days later by Lafayette police.
The escape was the third since the facility opened, Sheriff Mark Hebert said. He said the issues involved in each of the escapes have been addressed and corrected. The second escape that occurred at the prison also involved an escape through the ceiling, former Sheriff David Naquin said.
The murder for which Horton is awaiting trial occurred when he participated with Jimmy Wright in the break-in of the Bayou Vista home in Little Pine Trailer Park and then robbing and stabbing his brother to death, the affidavit of probable cause said. Both men gave different accounts of what happened in the affidavit of probable cause
Detectives were able to retrieve a sheathed knife allegedly used in the killing at Wilson’s Landing in Patterson, the affidavit said.
Horton is “mentally retarded and suffers from more than one diagnosed mental illness,” his attorney said in September 2009, two years after his indictment for first degree-murder.
After a Dec. 3, 2009, sanity commission evaluation, Horton was sent to a state mental facility in an attempt to help Horton attain mental competency to assist in his trial. Horton was able to attain mental competency while in the facility by May 17, 2011, according to an evaluation.