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Recaptured Lumpkin inmate faces new charges

Toilet breakout nets accusations of escape, interference with property

POSTED: February 21, 2014 12:03 a.m.

A Lumpkin County inmate captured late Wednesday after he spent nearly 24 hours on the run has two more felony charges to add to the seven he already was facing.

After he was caught about a half-mile from the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, Larry Lavaughan Farmer was charged with escape and criminal interference with governmental property, Sheriff’s Lt. Wesley Burnett said Thursday.

Farmer was captured just before 11 p.m. Wednesday at the entrance to an apartment complex in Dahlonega, after a resident at the complex saw him and called 911, Burnett said.

Farmer was found in a concrete culvert. “It was apparent he was hiding,” Burnett said.

Authorities “arrived quickly due to the concentration of officers on the lookout for Farmer,” Burnett said. “It only took a few moments for officers to locate (him) after they arrived.”

Farmer was taken to Chestatee Regional Hospital in Dahlonega, where he was treated for cuts and other injuries to his legs, arms and chest.

“We do not suspect Farmer received any help from anyone on the outside,” Burnett said.

Farmer, 47, had fled the Lumpkin County Detention Center at 11:35 p.m. Tuesday with another inmate, William Jeffrey Harris, after ripping a toilet from an interior cell wall and scaling a barbed-wire fence.

The escape also involved the pair breaking out a window in a mechanical area of the jail and climbing through it to reach the outside of the building.

“Once outside, the two were able to climb over two fences, one with barbed wire and the other with razor wire,” stated an early Wednesday email.

Harris, injured by the wire atop the fences, surrendered to officers.

“When Harris returned to the facility, an immediate lockdown occurred and a headcount was completed,” Burnett said. “Harris and Farmer shared a cell, so it was immediately known Farmer was gone.”

In addition to questioning Harris, who faces an escape charge, “officers were able to piece together a lot of the incident due to damage to the facility, items left behind by Harris and Farmer, and outside video surveillance,” Burnett said.

Involved in the search early on were K-9 units from the Lumpkin and Forsyth County sheriff’s offices, as well as the Appalachian Drug Task Force, a multiagency narcotics unit serving Lumpkin, Towns, Union and White counties, Burnett said. The U.S. Marshals Service and Georgia Bureau of Investigation later joined the search, and surrounding law enforcement agencies were notified of the escape.

Farmer, who was considered dangerous, was “known to frequent areas in Hall, Habersham and Lumpkin counties,” according to an email from the sheriff’s office.

Farmer was in jail on the following charges:

  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Attempt to distribute methamphetamine
  • Trafficking methamphetamine
  • Fleeing/eluding a police officer
  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
  • Possession of a firearm/knife during the commission of a crime
  • Forgery in the first degree
  • Giving false information to an officer

Burnett also said it appears all jail policies and procedures “were being followed” at the time of the escape.

“So, as of right now, an internal investigation has not been warranted,” he said. “However, the jail commander will ... complete his review of the incident.”


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