Manhunt ends for St. Clair County inmate

9:26 PM, Aug 26, 2009   |    comments
Elijah Muhammad.
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KSDK -- The search for an inmate accidentally released from St. Clair County Jail has ended.

Elijah Muhammad was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Dallas, Texas during a routine traffic stop. Police there said Muhammad may face resisting arrest charges.

Muhammad, 60, was released on bond Monday afternoon in the place of another man.

"The booking officer went to the recovery room where the individual was being held and he called his name," said Phillip McLaurin, the St. Clair County Jail Superintendant. "Elijah Muhammad responded.

But it wasn't Elijah Muhammad's name that was called and he wasn't the man who was supposed to be making bail.

Muhammad was wearing the sweatshirt of the inmate who was set for release, and that, the Sheriff's Department says, was enough to convince officers -- who referenced a photo of the correct inmate wearing the same sweatshirt -- that the right man was going free.

Muhammad was behind bars on home invasion charges and for aggravated discharge of a weapon. According to authorities, Muhammad was arrested Thursday after breaking into a female acquaintance's house and firing a weapon at another man who was also there.

When Muhammad walked out of the St. Clair County Jail around 2:30 p.m. Monday, he convinced the sister of another man who was posting bail to give him a ride to East St. Louis.

"He signed his papers, just like my brother, and he walked out [with the others making bond] so to me this man was considered a free man on bond," said the woman who would only give a first name of Tammy.

She said Muhammad seemed calm and even gave her gas money for the ride when she asked him for it. The woman dropped him off at a flea market in East St. Louis and did not get a good look at the people who picked him up.

The woman returned to the St. Clair County Jail Monday night to help investigators and make sure they knew she didn't know Muhammad prior to giving him a ride.

"Anytime something like this happens it's nothing that you're happy or proud about," said Daniel Stockett, a spokesman with the department. "So we just have to take some extra precautions to make sure nothing like this happens again."

Meanwhile, the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office charged another inmate, 44-year-old Darrlyn K. Byrd, with aiding Muhammad in his escape.

Byrd and Muhammad shared a cell and investigators determined Muhammad and Byrd formerly were relatives by marriage.

Information from the Belleville News-Democrat was used in this report.


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