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Murder suspects break out of Orangeburg jail; inmates on the run after control panel failed, officer assaulted
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Murder suspects break out of Orangeburg jail; inmates on the run after control panel failed, officer assaulted

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Three inmates escaped from the Orangeburg County Detention Center on Saturday night, including two men accused of murder, Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said Sunday. One has been found.

Investigators are appealing to the public to report anything suspicious to law enforcement immediately.

“We have to get these individuals off the street,” Ravenell said.

The escaped inmates are: Tyshon Demontrea Johnson, 27, of 190 2nd Street, Bowman, and Curtis Ray Green, 20, of 500 Fletcher Street #899, Orangeburg.

Christopher Shannon Boltin also escaped, but was found Sunday. The 27-year-old has addresses at 829 Edisto Avenue, Orangeburg, and 135 Crosby Street, Cordova.

"Christopher Boltin was taken into custody in Lexington County by sheriff's deputies in that jurisdiction," Ravenell said. "He will be returned to Orangeburg and put back in jail to await his court hearing. We will now focus on the remaining two at large."

Ravenell said the inmates are considered dangerous.

Both Johnson and Green are facing murder charges.

Ravenell said deputies responded to a call from the jail regarding “possibly some escaped inmates” at 9:38 p.m. Saturday.

At that same time, deputies learned that a detention officer had also been assaulted.

He said it appears the inmates escaped when the detention officer was assaulted.

“I think it was a planned escape,” Ravenell said.

Orangeburg County Administrator Harold Young said the inmates escaped after an electrical malfunction in a control panel.

He said the inmates were contained to their cells and when the electrical malfunction occurred, the cell doors became unlocked, but inmates remained secured in their pod.

When a detention officer went to corral inmates back to their cells, four inmates overpowered a detention officer and they made an escape from the pod and through another security point.

The four inmates attempted to escape the detention center area by tossing sheets over the razor wire on the outside fencing.

Officers were able to detain one of the inmates before he was able to escape. The other three freed themselves.

Young said the officer got checked out at the Regional Medical Center and is OK.

He also said the Orangeburg County Department of Public Works has corrected the electrical malfunction on the security panel to prevent this from happening again.

He is thankful for the response by the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.

Young said he is also looking forward to the completion of the new county detention center as modernized security measures will be in place.

During the manhunt, the sheriff’s office used its K-9 tracking team around the detention center in hopes of trying to help find the escaped inmates.

In addition, the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety, Elloree Police Department and S.C. Law Enforcement Division also responded to the detention center with tracking teams.

Ravenell said that investigators aren’t containing their search to South Carolina.

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Johnson is facing a charge of murder, armed robbery and two counts of attempted murder in a Sept. 26, 2017, incident that left 24-year-old Lamont Shuler dead at an Old Number Six Highway home near Santee.

Johnson’s co-defendants in the incident – Alphonso Field, 27, and Laron Thomas, 25, both of Orangeburg – remain at the jail on the same charges.

Prior to his arrest in October 2017, Johnson served time in prison after pleading guilty on Oct. 26, 2016, to a 2014 armed robbery.

A judge sentenced Johnson to 10 years in prison, suspended to four years in prison and four years of probation.

He gave him credit for having already served 768 days in the county jail.

Johnson began serving probation on Feb. 1, 2017. It was scheduled to end on Jan. 31, 2021.

The sheriff’s office also charged him with attempted murder in connection with an Aug. 24, 2011, shooting on Perry Street.

The U.S. Marshals Taskforce arrested Johnson in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Ultimately, on Dec. 5, 2012, Johnson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree assault and battery.

A judge sentenced him to four years in prison and gave him credit for time served.

Green is facing the charge of murder in the 2015 shooting death of 35-year-old Trajan Jenkins.

Investigators allege Green shot Jenkins to death outside of his Shadowlawn Drive apartment on March 20, 2015. They believe Green murdered Jenkins as he left home for work and discovered his vehicle was being stolen.

Green was not charged in the death for more than a year. By that time, he was already in prison after pleading guilty in November 2015 to three counts of grand larceny, one count of possession of a stolen vehicle and one count of failure to stop for blue light.

Green began serving multiple concurrent prison sentences on Nov. 25, 2015.

His projected release date is May 21, 2019, but his projected parole eligibility for those sentences was on Aug. 31, 2016.

During his time in prison, he lost privileges for threatening to inflict harm on an employee and striking an inmate.

He also lost canteen, telephone and visitation privileges after damaging property and exhibitionism.

Boltin, who has a history of stealing vehicles, is facing carjacking and grand larceny charges from this past January.

In 2015, Boltin pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of a stolen vehicle.

A judge sentenced him to prison for four years, suspended to one year in prison with four years of probation. He was ordered to pay restitution.

On Dec. 7, 2016, he pleaded guilty to use of a vehicle without permission and grand larceny.

A judge sentenced him to six years in prison, suspended to one year of probation and ordered him to complete his GED.

And on Jan. 9, 2018, Boltin pleaded guilty to one count of financial transaction card fraud and possession of a stolen vehicle.

A judge sentenced him to five years in prison, suspended to five years of probation.

At the time of his most recent arrest, he was serving a probation sentence set to end on Jan. 8, 2023.

If anyone sees these inmates, they are asked to call Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office dispatch immediately at 803-534-3550 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. If in immediate danger, call 911. Callers may remain anonymous.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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