HENRY COUNTY, Ind. (April 28, 2014) – Two inmates who escaped from the Henry County Jail are back in custody after just nine hours of freedom in New Castle.
Henry County Sheriff Butch Baker tells FOX59 that Michael Bertram and Johnny Dennis were found shortly after 1 p.m. in a south side neighborhood near Baker Park.
The duo was found at a home in a neighborhood where Dennis grew up. Baker said the pair was apparently trying to gather clothes, money and a ride to further their escape. Bertram and Dennis allegedly used a kitchen knife to escape through a pantry ceiling and exit the jail early Monday morning.
Bertram and Johnny Dennis were arrested at the house of an old friend of Dennis, Steve Wilson. Wilson told FOX59 that the two men came to his house around 10 a.m. and drank coffee and smoked cigarettes.
South side resident Steve Wilson told FOX59 News the men knocked down his door at 10 a.m., about 6 hours after their escape. Wilson, a boyhood friend of Dennis, says the men drank coffee and smoked cigarettes.
Wilson said Dennis has been in and out of jail his whole life, so he was not surprised to see him back in his old neighborhood. He said he confronted the two men after their mug shots appeared on TV. Wilson said he told Dennis and Bertram they had two choices: to turn themselves in or leave.
The men did not have a plan or any money, said Wilson.
“They was on their way to Texas to see Dennis’ mother,” said Wilson.
While Bertram and Dennis were formulating their escape, a Henry County Sheriff’s Department deputy arrived to the house and arrested them without incident. Deputies had been canvassing Dennis’ former neighborhood, looking for his friends.
“He’s been in trouble like this all his life,” said Wilson. “It was like a revolving door. I guess they was no jobs in New Castle so he never worked. I guess the system failed him or he failed the system.”
At the time of his escape, Bertram was due to be sent to the Department of Correction for a theft conviction while Dennis was awaiting trial on robbery and battery charges.
“These individuals are here because they don’t make the best decisions to start with, so this is just another bad decision,” said Sheriff Butch Baker.
Both men now face additional escape charges, which could add three to five years to their sentence.