A convicted killer serving a life sentence escaped Hancock State Prison on Sunday evening after climbing a fence at the prison, officials from the Georgia Department of Corrections said Tuesday.
Richard Joel Jenkins, 27, who was in prison for the 2004 killing of a Bibb County convenience store clerk, was found about 7:30 p.m. Monday along Ga. 22 by a Department of Corrections K-9 unit, officials said. Jenkins was spotted by a resident, who reported suspicious activity in an area of woods off Union Church Road in Washington County, about five miles from the prison.
Jenkins didn’t offer any resistance when he was captured. There have been no reported injuries in relation to his escape, officials said.
Kristen Stancil, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said the department is currently reviewing what happened at the prison and how Jenkins was able to escape. The findings will determine if policies need to be changed.
Stancil declined to add any more details about the escape, citing the review. She said a district attorney will determine charges against Jenkins that are related to his escape.
Officials from the Department of Corrections, the Southeast Fugitive Task Force and the sheriff’s offices of Baldwin, Hancock and Washington counties all took part in the manhunt for Jenkins, and helicopters also were used in the search.
Jenkins was charged with armed robbery and felony murder in the shooting death of store clerk Gopal Patel in 2004 at the V&R Food Mart on Jeffersonville Road. Patel was shot twice in the chest that morning when Jenkins and another masked man entered the store, demanding money. A female clerk at the store had started to comply when Patel was shot. The female clerk wasn’t injured. Patel died about a half-hour later at The Medical Center of Central Georgia.
Jenkins admitted his part in Patel’s death to authorities, as well as his role in two armed robberies in Clayton County that year. Jenkins had prior arrests in Bibb County for receiving a stolen vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.