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Hall County jail escapee recaptured at Tucker motel

POSTED: July 22, 2013 9:46 p.m.
/For The Times

James Cantrell

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James Edward Cantrell, the Hall County inmate who escaped July 16 during a transfer from the courthouse, was recaptured Monday, authorities said.

Agents of the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force recaptured Cantrell at a motel in Tucker, the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said.

Cantrell, 46, of Gainesville had been on the lam since he slipped away from a group of inmates being escorted from the courthouse back to the Hall County Jail after court proceedings.

A stolen pickup used by the runaway inmate was found early Wednesday evening in Atlanta in the 600 block of Etheridge Street NW.

Officers have been following up on multiple leads. One tip came into the sheriff’s office that Cantrell was spotted in the area of a motel in Tucker.

Officers with the Southeast Regional Fugitive Force were able to determine that Cantrell was checked in to a room using a false name. While conducting surveillance, officers spotted Cantrell walking near the motel lobby. He was placed into custody without further incident.

Cantrell was transported back to Hall County and is being held in the Hall County Jail.

There is no further information available, the sheriff’s office said, pending the results of the ongoing investigation.

“Cantrell was able to conceal himself in the alcove of a locked doorway on the exterior of the building,” said a sheriff’s office news release sent July 16. “He subsequently located a nearby work truck, which had the keys in the ignition, and left the area.”

The red Ford truck owned by Blue Ridge Fence Co. had been parked on Green Street.

He was in State Court for violation of a temporary protective order, with an original charge of felony battery related to family violence.

Cantrell had been sentenced in Hall County Superior Court by Judge Jason Deal to five years in prison for the battery charge.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wilbanks has declined to say at what time deputies noticed the man was missing and how long it took to inform the public, noting the information is part of an internal investigation.

Cantrell carried a lengthy record, court records show, including charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and stalking the same victim in 2007.

He had also been charged with fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in 2007.


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