Kentucky

Kentucky county employee allegedly looked away, allowed jail inmate to escape work detail

Joseph Morris allegedly escaped from a work detail in June 2019 while he was an inmate at the Rockcastle County Detention Center.
Joseph Morris allegedly escaped from a work detail in June 2019 while he was an inmate at the Rockcastle County Detention Center. Rockcastle County Detention Center

A road department employee in Rockcastle County allegedly allowed a jail inmate to escape during a work detail.

Kentucky State Police arrested Perry Mason, 48, on charges of second-degree official misconduct and second-degree facilitation to escape, according to a news release issued Wednesday.

State police initially announced that on June 28, Joseph D. Morris, 30, of Livingston had fled from a county employee in the Red Hill community during a work detail. Many counties use inmates for work such as cutting grass and picking up litter.

State police received information on July 4 that Morris was staying in an abandoned camper in the county. Trooper Adam Hensley and the officers from the Mount Vernon Police Department arrested him there without incident.

Hensley said in a warrant that Mason picked up a crew of several inmates about 7:15 a.m. on June 28 and took them to a mowing job that they finished at 12:20 p.m.

Mason said there was no more work for the crew that day, so he decided to take four inmates, Morris included, to “drive around and cool off,” according to the warrant.

Mason drove a total of about 30 miles, then stopped on a rural road, saying he had to relieve himself, the warrant said.

He allegedly allowed the inmates out of the truck to relieve themselves or to get a soft drink from the cooler.

Mason said he got a call from the jailer while they were stopped, and when he finished the call Morris had fled, Hensley said in the warrant.

The warrant said inmates reported that Morris’s father had come to the county road garage three days before the escape and talked to Morris. This reportedly happened while Morris was supposed to be under Mason’s supervision, according to the warrant.

One inmate told police Morris said “that that was his ticket out of there,” according to the warrant.

When Mason took the inmates for a ride the day of the escape, he parked the truck about a quarter of a mile from where Morris lived, the warrant said.

Mason has pleaded not guilty.

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