- State Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals involved in the manhunt
- 3 inmates are held in one cell; 1 screams, says another is sick, sheriff says
- The inmates jump a jailer, then fled on foot, the Choctaw County Sheriff adds
- The jailer, who was allegedly choked, was treated at a nearby hospital, he says
Two men charged with murder and another being held on armed robbery charges escaped early Saturday from a rural Alabama county jail, a local sheriff said.
The three were locked down together in a single cell around 2 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) when one started screaming, saying another of them was very sick, Choctaw County Sheriff Tom Abate said. The jailer looked through a porthole, saw someone vomiting, then opened the cell door.
When he did, the inmates jumped the jailer, stole his keys and cell phone, then fled on foot, according to Abate.
Local authorities using tracking dogs tracked the escaped inmates about one-quarter mile away down State Highway 17 in Butler, Alabama, where Abate said they were either picked up or had a vehicle waiting for them.
The two escapees who were being held on capital murder charges, for separate incidents, are 23-year-old Demarcus Woodward for allegedly fatally shooting a work release inmate and 32-year-old Gemayel Culbert for his involvement in the killing of two people at a private club in northern Choctaw County. The other escapee is Terrell Gordon, 23, who is charged with armed robbery in connection with a convenience store theft.
Alabama's state Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals from Mobile and local authorities all have roles in the manhunt.
The jailer who these inmates allegedly choked was treated and released at an area hospital, Abate said Saturday morning.
Choctaw County, with population of fewer than 14,000, is in southwestern Alabama, bordering Mississippi.