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Escapees jumped fences

One day of freedom might cost prisoners five more years

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 1:51 a.m. HST, Jun 29, 2011

Four prisoners caught late Monday after a day on the run escaped by jumping over two fences at the minimum-security Waiawa Correctional Facility, state Department of Public Safety officials said.

Police arrested Elijah Kea-Kahumoku, 26, and Jordan White, 22, at 9:15 p.m. Monday at an apartment building at 370 Wilikina Drive in Wahiawa after a tip. Police also arrested a 41-year-old woman who lives at the building for hindering prosecution.

The woman did not cooperate with officers trying to arrest the men, said Sgt. Kim Buffet of the Honolulu Police Department.

Police located two other escapees — David Carvalho, 40, and Thomas George, 24 — outside the Pagoda Hotel at midnight. It is believed they were going to check into the hotel, Buffett said. Police got a tip that the men would be there.

Adult correctional officers reported the men missing at 1:10 a.m. Sunday during a bed check.

The men all face felony escape charges, which could add five years to their sentences.

Public safety officials said the men, housed in the same facility, may have planned the escape weeks ago.

Public Safety Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata stressed that Waiawa differs from a medium-security prison such as Halawa Community Correctional Center.

Halawa has large perimeter fences with barbed wire. At Waiawa, "these are people transitioning into the community," Maesaka-Hirata said. "They can literally walk away from the facility. It's an open facility."

The 200-person Waiawa facility does have an unspecified number of corrections officers, and the inmates had to jump two 6-foot fences to escape, she said.

All Waiawa inmates have four years or less on their minimum term, or four years or less on their maximum sentence, Maesaka-Hirata said. The four who escaped would have been reviewed by a parole board in the next 18 months, she said.

Being convicted of second-degree escape could add years to their time behind bars, she said.

"Being their time was short, it's surprising that they would risk having an additional, possibly, five years added to their prison terms," she said.

Carvalho, one of the four, was denied parole earlier this month but would have been considered for parole again next year, she said.

There are no plans to re-evaluate security at Waiawa, she said.

Buffet said it's not easy for a prison escapee to remain free for long on Oahu, "especially because we're an island. Your face is all over the media. Going to a fast-food restaurant, you're going to be recognized."

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