Inmate who walked off work detail arraigned on escape charge

Published 9:51 am Thursday, February 23, 2017

James Walton

James Walton

A Carter County inmate charged with escape after reportedly walking off a work detail earlier this week appeared in court Wednesday morning.
James Edward Walton, 47, of Elizabethton, appeared before General Sessions Court Judge Keith Bowers Jr. and was arraigned on a charge of escape. Bowers appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent Walton and scheduled him to return to court on March 7.
The charge against Walton stems from an incident on Monday where Walton is accused of assaulting another inmate and then walking away from his work detail in Roan Mountain.
According to court documents, Carter County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wendell Treadway was supervising an inmate work crew at Cloudland Elementary “when a fight broke out” between Walton and inmate Christopher Carver.
“Officer Treadway said he broke the fight up and told inmate Walton to wait at the truck while he checked on Mr. Carver,” said CCSO Capt. Rocky Croy. “Officer Treadway said when he returned to the truck inmate Walton was not there.”
“Officer Treadway said he notified the jail that inmate Walton was missing and searched the area with no results,” Croy added. “Jail supervisor (Ronnie) Kent came to the scene and upon searching the roadway found part of inmate Walton’s jail-issued uniform near the North Carolina – Tennessee line.”
Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said at some point during the altercation between the two inmates Walton struck Carver with a shovel. Carver returned to the Carter County Detention Center where jail medical staff evaluated and monitored him. Later that evening Carver’s condition worsened, Lunceford said, and he was taken to a local hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for his injuries.
On Wednesday, Lunceford said Carver’s condition had improved, and he was alert and talking. Lunceford said investigators went to the hospital on Wednesday to speak with Carver about the altercation with Walton. Investigators were also interviewing Walton regarding the incident.
Lunceford said additional charges are pending the outcome of the investigation, which he said is still ongoing at this time.
“We have to talk to him and determine what his intentions were,” Lunceford said. “If he said ‘I’m going to kill you’ and swung the shovel that is different than just swinging the shovel.”
Investigators are also considering the severity of the injuries suffered by Carver in determining what type of charges to pursue against Walton, Lunceford said.

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