A man’s brazen act of escaping to freedom from an Arkansas courtroom after he was found guilty, left authorities perplexed.
Joey Watts who was facing charges of aggravated assault and felony possession of a firearm, managed to simply get up and walk out of the Grant County Courthouse in Sheridan when no one was looking.
The defendant was found guilty of aggravated assault and was awaiting final verdict from the jury who were making their deliberations on the firearms charges.
In a video which surfaced online, no court official or bailiff seems to have been watching as he just sauntered out of the courthouse.
Police eventually caught him a day later and sent him back to jail. Three others were also arrested for helping him escape.
Deputy Prosecutor Norman Frisby, who was in charge of trying the case, said Watts’ attorney had told him not to leave, but he just stood up and left anyway.
Frisby also explained that Watts had been accused of threatening a woman with a shotgun in his home on 29th November, 2018.
The incident captured on tape took place a year later in October 2019. In the footage, Watts can be seen sitting, before standing up and heading out of the court. He went straight for the stairs, down the hallway and out of the building through the door.
Watch the video below:
When asked how this was allowed to happen, Grant County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Pete Roberts told NBC News: “He was out on bond and had not been convicted so this allowed him to move around.”
Frisby added that there wasn’t a second bailiff around to stop him leaving.
He explained that at the time, Grant County only had one bailiff and was hiring for another.
After his rearrest, the jury eventually gave a verdict and Watts was sentenced to 36 years in prison, with 10 years for the assault and 26 years for possession of the firearm.
No additional charges were brought against him for his courtroom escape.