Crime & Courts

Convicted Wichita murderer found guilty of escape, battery charges from 2012 jail break

Santos M. Carrera-Morales
Santos M. Carrera-Morales Courtesy photo

An Ottawa County jury on Thursday found a convicted Wichita murderer guilty of aggravated escape from custody and battery on a corrections officer for his role in a 2012 jail break, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said. Santos M. Carrera-Morales is set for sentencing Feb. 11.

The 24-year-old is one of four inmates who used homemade knives to overpower guards and ran from Ottawa County Jail on April 18, 2012 – prompting a widespread, three-day manhunt. He had been serving time in Kansas Department of Corrections custody on two counts of first-degree murder in a 2007 Wichita gang shooting but was transferred to the jail to ease prison overcrowding.

Carrera-Morales was arrested a day after the escape at a truck stop in Russell. Two of his accomplices, Alberto Barraza-Lujan and Drew Wade, were apprehended April 18, 2012.

Authorities captured the fourth man, Eric James, in Omaha on April 20, 2012.

Carrera-Morales is the last of the escaped inmates to be sentenced in the case.

In March, Barraza-Lujan and Wade each received a 136-month state prison sentence for their parts in the jail break, Schmidt said.

In July 2012, a judge gave James 18 years in federal prison on related carjacking charges. He had been serving a state sentence for aggravated robbery, kidnapping and other charges at the time of the escape.

The ordeal prompted state correctional officials to transfer 18 other state inmates housed at Ottawa County Jail in 2012 back to the prison in Ellsworth.