Lexington man pleads guilty to helping convicted rapist escape

A Lexington man pleaded guilty Wednesday to helping convicted rapist John Calvin Buckley IV flee the state.

John Lee Williams, 42, a former cellmate of Buckley's, was charged with one count of hindering prosecution or apprehension, a misdemeanor, according to court documents.

Williams was seen on surveillance video in the parking lot of a Georgetown drug store. He was riding in a stolen rental car with Buckley after Buckley escaped from the Fayette Circuit Courthouse on July 12.

The car was found abandoned in the parking lot of the drug store the following week, after Buckley had left the state, Fayette County Sheriff's Sgt. Jay Pittman has said.

Fayette District Court Judge T. Bruce Bell sentenced Williams on Wednesday to 45 days in jail, with credit for time he already has served. Fayette County sheriff's deputies arrested Williams on Aug. 9.

Williams was on probation for an unrelated felony when he helped Buckley escape.

In June 2011, Williams was accused of firing a handgun at two people in a vehicle on Loudon Avenue, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful discharge of a firearm and one count of tampering with physical evidence in December.

As a condition of his probation, he was not to commit any more crimes or leave Fayette County without permission. A probation revocation hearing was scheduled for Sept. 21.

Buckley, a former Army Ranger with combat training, was out of jail on bond during a three-day trial last month on charges of rape, sodomy, assault and unlawful imprisonment of an ex-girlfriend. He left the courthouse while the jury was deliberating; when the trial resumed and the jury announced Buckley had been found guilty on all counts, Buckley was nowhere to be found.

His escape has sparked a nationwide manhunt. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Lexington police at (859) 258-3600 or the Fayette County sheriff's office at (859) 252-1771.

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