A South Carolina inmate serving a life sentence for kidnapping his former attorney and the attorney’s family has escaped from a maximum security prison for a second time, authorities say.
Police are searching for Jimmy Causey, 46, after he escaped from the Lieber Correctional Institution, the South Carolina Department of Corrections says.
Causey escaped about 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to officials. He previously escaped from a different South Carolina prison in 2005, a year after he was sentenced on the kidnapping conviction, but was found at a motel after a three-day manhunt, The Charleston Post and Courier reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Authorities Have Not Said How Causey Escaped From the Lieber Correctional Institution
Authorities have not said how Jimmy Causey escaped from the Lieber Correctional Institution. He was first found to be missing about 2 p.m., officials said.
He is 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighs 177 pounds, according to the South Carolina Department of Corrections. He has a 1-inch scar along the left side of his chin. He is of medium build with brown hair and blue eyes.
Causey works as a tree trimmer at the prison, according to the DOC. He has been at Lieber since September 2014, prison records show.
“DO NOT APPROACH, Call 9-1-1 if seen,” the DOC said in a tweet. Anyone with information can also call 1-877-349-2130. A reward is being offered for information that leads to his capture.
2. He & Another Inmate Escaped From the Broad River Correctional Institution in 2005 in a Trash Truck
Causey and another inmate, convicted killer Jimmy Brewer, escaped from another South Carolina prison, the Broad River Correctional Institution, in 2005, The Associated Press reports.
They were able to break out of the prison by hiding in a trash truck. According to the AP, guards found fake heads made out of toilet paper in the inmates’ beds, which fooled officers at an early morning prisoner. It took two extra hours for authorities to realize the men were missing. Prison officials blamed budget cuts, which left the trash area unguarded.
The two men were found three days later at a motel. A pizza delivery driver told The Associated Press at the time she recognized one of the men while delivering food to them and contacted police. Three people were charged for helping the men during their escape, including a woman who drove them away from the prison.
Brewer was found dead in his cell in 2007 after hanging himself, the AP reports.
3. Causey Held His High-Profile Attorney & His Family at Gunpoint in a Home Invasion Because He Thought He Had a Lot of Money
Causey was sentenced to life in prison after breaking into the home of his high-profile attorney, Jack Swerling, in 2002, WIS-TV reports. According to the news station, Causey and an accomplice duct-taped Swerling and his family and then held them at gunpoint. The duo believed Swerling had a lot of money, the news station reports.
“They were standing in the room. One of them had a handgun. They duct taped the family, put them on the floor. They made them lay face down in the den. One male stood over them with the gun while the other went through the house,” Richland County Sheriff’s Lt. Joseph Pellicci told WIS-TV in 2003.
According to Swerling’s testimony at Causey’s trial in 2004, the kidnappers were high on cocaine and wanted money to buy more drugs. They left with only $40 and a cell phone.
According to The Charleston Post and Courier, Swerling had twice been able to get Causey’s prison sentences reduced in other cases. But testimony at the kidnapping trial revealed that Causey held a grudge because he had to go to prison at all in those cases.
4. He Was First Sent to Prison in 1992 & Has Been Previously Convicted of Robbery, Burglary & Grand Larceny
Jimmy Causey had been in and out of South Carolina’s prisons for several years prior to receiving a life sentence, state records show.
He was first imprisoned in 1992 after he was convicted of several charges, including receiving stolen property, second-degree burglary, shoplifting, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, grand larceny, breaking into a motor vehicle and failure to stop for an officer. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the burglary charge.
Causey also has convictions for first-degree burglary, grand larceny, petit larceny and armed robbery. He is serving a 20-year sentence on the armed robbery and burglary charges stemming from a 2002 incident.
He was also sentenced to an additional 10 years in prison after his last escape.
Causey has dozens of disciplinary citations on his record, including in January 2017 for use and possession of drugs. He’s also been disciplined for possession of contraband, possession of a weapon, threatening employees, possessing a cell phone, creating or accessing a social media website, inciting or creating a disturbance and refusing to obey orders.
5. The Dorchester County Prison Causey Escaped From Holds About 1,500 Inmates, Including the State’s Death Row Prisoners
Police could be seen searching the area around the Lieber Correctional Institution on Wednesday. The prison is located in the Dorchester County town of Ridgeville.
According to the Department of Correction website, the facility opened in 1986 and holds about 1,500 prisoners. It is a level 3 facility, the highest degree of security in the state prison system.
“Level 3 facilities are high-security institutions designed primarily to house violent offenders with longer sentences, and inmates who exhibit behavioral problems,” the DOC website says. “Housing consists of single and double cells, and all perimeters are double-fenced with extensive electronic surveillance. Inmates at level 3 facilities are closely supervised and their activities and movement within the institution are highly restricted.”
The prison also houses the state’s death row inmates. Its warden is Joseph McFadden. In 2012, there were 251 officers working at the prison, according to a WCSC-TV report.