BAY COUNTY, Fla. - The two escaped murderers faced a judge at the Bay County Jail Sunday morning shortly after law enforcement officials revealed new details about the case.
Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, both 34, are being held without bond on an escape charges. Both men had their first court appearance in jail Sunday morning after their capture Saturday evening. They were found and arrested around 5:30 p.m. at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn in Panama City Beach, authorities said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement held a press conference at 10 a.m. Sunday, where new details in the case emerged. FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said the men had no weapons on them when they were caught and they had plans in place to flee the area.
"We are backtracking from last night. It will involve authorities in Atlanta because early information we have is that transport was coming from Atlanta," Bailey said.
Bailey announced there would be more arrests in the case and they are following leads to determine who was responsible for forged and fraudulent court documents.
"There is speculation that there was a source, who for an amount of money the documents could be constructed," Bailey said.
The commissioner went on to say that the price of the fake documents was possibly $8,000. He also added that the convicted murderers will be questioned by investigators on Sunday.
Authorities said they received information that the men were in Panama City Beach on Thursday. Investigators were able to track Jenkins and Walker to the motel, where they were staying in room 227, officials said.
Earlier Saturday Lillie Danzy, the mother of Walker, and Henry Pearson, the uncle and father figure of Jenkins, addressed the media at the sheriff's office headquarters.
Danzy said she was initially contacted by the Department of Corrections to inform her that her son was being released. The prison offered to put Walker on a bus to Orlando and he was soon reunited with his family.
"Charles spent the next week with family and appearing in public places, including his church on Sunday," Rhonda Henderson, the family's attorney said.
According to Henderson, the family believed Walker was legally being released because of a successful appeal.
"After appeals and post-trial motions had been filed on Charles' behalf, the family believed that their prayers had been answered," Henderson said.
The men registered as felons at the Orange County Jail three days after they were mistakenly released from a Franklin County prison based on forged court documents. Both had been serving life sentences, but the forged documents duped prison officials and the court system into letting them out.
Jail spokesman Allen Moore said the men filled out paperwork and were fingerprinted at the jail. Officials said it was a routine procedure and at that time both inmates would have been checked for outstanding warrants, but since there weren't any, the inmates were sent on their way.
Jenkins was released from prison on Sept. 27 and Walker was released Oct. 8. A statement released Thursday by State Attorney Jeff Ashton revealed the State Attorney's Office didn't know the convicted killers had been mistakenly released until a victim's family contacted the office.
Chief Judge Belvin Perry said changes have already been made to prevent someone from getting away with this again. He said he wouldn't elaborate on the changes because he didn't want to give anyone an opportunity to find a way around the new system.
On Friday the Department of Corrections announced it, too, would be implementing new changes by adding a verification process before releasing or changing any inmate's sentence.
In the past, the department would check the clerk's website for verification that an order had been filed. Moving forward, a judge will need to verify the release documents before an inmate is released.