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October 12, 2012

Ottawa County Jail escapee sentenced for carjacking

A Kansas inmate faces 18 years in federal prison for carjacking after he escaped from Ottawa County Jail earlier this year, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

A Kansas inmate faces 18 years in federal prison for carjacking after he escaped from Ottawa County Jail earlier this year, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

Eric Jerome James, 22, received the sentence after he pleaded guilty to the single count for stealing a vehicle shortly after fleeing the jail April 18, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a news release.

In his plea, James said he overpowered his victim — identified as “J.H.” — then fled alone in the vehicle. J.H. suffered “serious bodily injury to his face” during the attack, according to a news release.

At the time of his escape, James was serving a prison sentence for multiple counts of aggravated burglary, criminal damage to property and kidnapping in connection with a string of crimes committed in Allen, Anderson and Bourbon counties in early 2008, Kansas Department of Corrections records show.

He fled Ottawa County Jail, located in Minneapolis, nearly three months after his transfer there from Ellsworth Correctional Facility, according to the KDOC. James was one of four inmates who escaped that day, Grissom’s office said.

Authorities arrested James two days later in Omaha.

Under a plea agreement, James was not charged for the jail escape, prosecutors said. His federal sentence will run consecutive to his state prison term.

The three other escapees face criminal charges for fleeing, according to the news release.

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