The last of four men involved in attempted escape from the Duval County jail was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week, again proving the old adage correct that it’s just better to do your time. William Roy Hayes was one of four men who in August 2010 overpowered a corrections officer and fought with two others before being restrained, according to the Florida Times-Union. All three officers were hospitalized. Before the escape, Hayes was in jail on charges of domestic battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and carrying a concealed weapon in Jacksonville.
According to the police report, a corrections officer was jumped from behind by Hayes and another inmate. Hayes then attempted to unlock the control pod door and struggled with the officer. Other inmates subdued the corrections officer and several of them entered the control pod. Hayes grabbed the officer’s utility belt and tugged it violently in an attempt to pull it off the officer’s waist. The belt, which was eventually removed by Hayes, had the officer’s communications radio and electric control weapon on it.
Add up all of the charges and he was looking at a maximum of 11 years behind bars.
Now, he nearly doubled that with an escape attempt that was almost certain to fail. He pleaded guilty to escape, battery on a law enforcement officer and depriving an officer of means of protection or communication. The escape charge in Jacksonville is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The Jacksonville battery on a law enforcement officer charge and depriving an officer of means of protection or communication are both third degree felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison each. The judge sentenced Hayes to 15 years in prison on the escape charge and 5 years on both other felony charges. The five years on both of the lesser felonies run concurrent to each other and run consecutive to the escape charge.
While this was an unusually brazen jailbreak attempt, defendants rack up additional charges all the time while they are awaiting trial on something different. Usually, they’re fighting each other and pick up a battery charge in Duval County, or they get in a scrap with a corrections officer and are charged with battery on a law enforcement officer.
Those types of incidents are among the first that surface from prosecutors during a sentencing hearing. They can destroy hopes of a favorable sentence from a judge. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney stresses to our clients to keep their noses clean if they are in jail awaiting trial – and to stay out of trouble if they bonded out. How you act in detention can hurt you more than what got you arrested in the first place. Just ask Hayes and his three cohorts – two of whom got 20 years and the third got five years.
If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call Mussallem and Associate, PA at 904-365-5200 for a free consultation.