- Oxford Eagle, Sunday 9/21/97
- Suspects escape from Sheriff's
Pierce, Phelps still at
- By Chase McFadden
- Eagle Staff Writer
- The Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department
announced Saturday evening that Anthony Phelps, 21, who
is wanted in connection with a series of rapes in the
Oxford area, and Edward Pierce, 25, who has been
arraigned for the murder of University of Mississippi
student Purity Knight, escaped from a Yoknapatawpha
Sheriff's van Saturday afternoon while being transferred
to another facility. The prisoners were being held at the
Yoknapatawpha County Detention Center, recently renovated
to hold federal -risk prisoners, on Jackson Avenue and
were being transported to a smaller jail at the Metro
Narcotics Offices in the old county jail building on N.
Lamar Avenue when the accident occured.
- Public Relations Officer, Elizabeth Jones, said that
the accident occured on Jackson Avenue west as the van
went into a sharp curve and under a railroad bridge. The
driver apparently lost control of the van slamming into a
metal side wall barrier. The van ran up an embankment,
subsequently flipped over, and came to rest in the
parking lot of HairWorks, a local styling salon.
- Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Deputy Kennon Schiff,
a fifteen-year veteran of the force, was killled in the
resulting crash. Yoknapatawpha Sheriff's Deputy Morgan
Phillips is presently in a coma with a severe concussion,
a broken wrist and broken leg at Baptist Memorial
Hospital in Oxford but is expected to recover.
- Pierce, who state FBI agents have dubbed "the most
dangerous man in Mississippi," and Phelps, suspected by
police to be the Proud Larry's Attacker, escaped when the
van flipped over.
- As the van began to spark and eventually catch fire,
a truck from Mills Towing Service happened to be passing
by. The driver, Ray Mills, stopped to help, and along
with other witnesses helped extract the deputies from the
wrecked van before flames engulfed it.
- The prisoners' leg-irons and handcuffs were in a heap
on the floor in the back and Schiff's uniform shirt,
weapon belt and gun, and shoes were missing. One witness
reported seeing men fleeing into the brushy wooded area
to the south of the railroad bridge.
- State Representative Harold Ivy (R), a longtime
opponent of Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff Charles Lamar,
said, "It's an outrage when these prisoners -- a killer
and a rapist -- are transported so recklessly. The
incident sends a clear message to the voters of
Yoknapatawpha County. "
- Lamar is up for reelection in November, and is
currently running neck and neck in polls with his
opponent, Harold Mazza, whom Ivy supports.
- Jones assured the public that "adequate care and
security was taken in the transportation of these
prisoners. No one feels the loss greater than we do, and
we're working around the clock to apprehend these
- A $10,000 reward is being offered for information
leading to the arrest of the escapees, and the
Yoknapatawpha Sheriff's Department is being assisted by
the Oxford Police Department, the FBI State Crime Lab in
Jackson, The Metro Narcotics Unit of Jefferson, and The
Mississippi Highway Patrol.