August 12, 2017 10:09:10 PM
Carl Smith - firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Hill, the 44-year-old West Point man recently convicted of numerous felonies stemming from a 2016 Cotton District assault and sexual battery, is back in custody after escaping from the Oktibbeha County Jail Friday.
Oktibbeha County Chief Deputy Chadd Garnett confirmed Hill was taken into custody near Okolona, in Chickasaw County, Saturday morning after he escaped the correctional facility about 8:30 p.m. Friday.
Area law enforcement agents gathered in Chickasaw County after Hill was last spotted in the area about 6:15 a.m.
Sheriff Steve Gladney said it was believed Hill received help after his escape in the form of a ride out of Oktibbeha County to Monroe County, and then another ride from there to the Okolona area.
Charges could be filed against anyone intentionally assisting Hill in his escape, Gladney said, and the sheriff's department will continue investigating the incident.
Hill escaped after he crawled through ventilation ductwork near the jail's shower area, accessed the building's attic and dropped down into an office area.
He was then able to walk out of the jail unnoticed by staff but captured on surveillance cameras heading north on Washington Street.
"We're going to go back and make sure this doesn't happen again. We'll learn from this," Gladney said.
Agents with OCSD, Starkville Police Department, Mississippi State University Police Department, Clay County Sheriff's Department, Monroe County Sheriff's Department, Chickasaw Sheriff's Department, Okolona Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the manhunt.
Hill was convicted of two counts of kidnapping and one count each of sexual battery and robbery Aug. 3 and was sentenced to 105 combined years by 16th District Circuit Judge Lee Coleman.
During the trial, Coleman denied a request from Hill's attorney, Stephanie Mallette, to be removed from the case after she said Hill threatened her with physical violence multiple times since she was appointed counsel.
A plainclothes law enforcement agent was placed at the defense's table for most of the trial after Mallette brought forward Hill's alleged threats.
Hill is expected to appeal his conviction.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch