Sheriff: Inmate who walked off work detail back in custody

Published 9:56 am Thursday, July 7, 2016

Phillip Payne

A Carter County inmate who officers say walked off a work detail Tuesday morning is back in custody and now faces an escape charge.
Phillip Jason Payne, 38, of 2404 Bob Little Road, Apt. 5, Elizabethton, was working as an inmate trustee at the Carter County Animal Shelter when he walked off from his work assignment and fled custody around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, according to Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford.
“Mr. Payne was discovered missing by an Animal Shelter employee who notified the Carter County Sheriff’s Office,” Lunceford said.
According to an affidavit of complaint filed with the warrant charging Payne with escape, the Animal Shelter notified the Sheriff’s Office that Payne was missing at Noon and reported he had last been seen around 11 a.m.
CCSO Sgt. Samantha Beckett said she received a phone call at around 1 p.m. by a man who reported he had just picked Payne up in Johnson City and dropped him off at a residence in Erwin.
“Mr. Payne was assigned to the Animal Shelter and knew he was not to leave his post,” Beckett said. “All attempts to locate Mr. Payne were met with negative results. Due to voluntarily violating his trustee rules he is being charged with escape.”
Around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Lunceford said Payne returned to the Carter County Detention Center and turned himself in. He was served with a warrant charging him with escape.
On Wednesday morning, Payne appeared in Carter County General Sessions Court where he was arraigned on the escape charge. Judge Keith Bowers Jr. appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Payne and scheduled him to return to court on July 12.
Payne was serving a sentence of 111 days in jail for a conviction of violation of probation and failure to appear at the time he allegedly walked off his work detail.

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