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News Story
Updated: 10/22/2013 05:30:10PM

Official: 2 Fla. prisoners captured by authorities

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Lillie Danzy, front left, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker,pictured in lower right, with her husband Jeff Danzy, to her left, and attorney Rhonda Henderson, right, listen as she makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Joseph Jenkins and Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, front left, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, with her husband Jeff Danzy, second from left, and family supporters and members of the Orange County Sheriff's Office listen as Henry Pearson, center, uncle of escaped inmate Joseph Jenkins, makes a plea for his nephew to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Joseph Jenkins, photo front left, and Charles Walker, photo front right, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 file photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. On Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, Cruz said Republicans lost the government shutdown budget battle because some members of his own party in Congress turned on their colleagues — but he also said he expects they won't make the same mistake during another political impasse. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

FILE -This July 20, 2013 file photo shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe as he gestures during the Virginia Bar Association convention debate at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. In the Virginia governor’s race, the perennial hot-button issue of abortion keeps creeping into the dialogue. Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli opposes abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger, a position McAuliffe called “very extreme” because it would not allow abortion in cases of rape, incest or to protect the mother’s health. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

FILE -This July 20, 2013 file photo shows Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe as he gestures during the Virginia Bar Association convention debate at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Va. In the Virginia governor’s race, the perennial hot-button issue of abortion keeps creeping into the dialogue. Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli opposes abortion except when the mother’s life is in danger, a position McAuliffe called “very extreme” because it would not allow abortion in cases of rape, incest or to protect the mother’s health. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

In this undated image released Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 by the Orange County Circuit Court, in Orlando, Fla., a bogus document authorities say led to the release of a convicted killer is shown. Authorities say this document and others like it led to the mistaken release of two prisoners. (AP Photo/Orange County Circuit Court)

In this undated image released Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 by the Orange County Circuit Court, in Orlando, Fla., a bogus document authorities say led to the release of a convicted killer is shown. Authorities say this document and others like it led to the mistaken release of two prisoners. (AP Photo/Orange County Circuit Court)

In this undated image released Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 by the Orange County Circuit Court, in Orlando, Fla., a bogus document authorities say led to the release of a convicted killer is shown. Authorities say this document and others like it led to the mistaken release of two prisoners. (AP Photo/Orange County Circuit Court)

In this undated image released Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 by the Orange County Circuit Court, in Orlando, Fla., a bogus document authorities say led to the release of a convicted killer is shown. Authorities say this document and others like it led to the mistaken release of two prisoners. (AP Photo/Orange County Circuit Court)

FILE - This undated provided by the Georgia Department of Corrections shows convicted murderer Warren Lee Hill. Georgia, the first state to pass a law prohibiting the execution of mentally disabled death row inmates, is revisiting a requirement for defendants to prove the disability beyond a reasonable doubt to be spared execution on those grounds _ the strictest burden of proof in the nation.(AP Photo/Georgia Dept. of Corrections)

FILE - This undated provided by the Georgia Department of Corrections shows convicted murderer Warren Lee Hill. Georgia, the first state to pass a law prohibiting the execution of mentally disabled death row inmates, is revisiting a requirement for defendants to prove the disability beyond a reasonable doubt to be spared execution on those grounds _ the strictest burden of proof in the nation.(AP Photo/Georgia Dept. of Corrections)

In this Sept. 30, 2013 photo released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Jenkins poses for a photo. Within days of strolling out of prison without a hitch, convicted killers Charles Walker and Jenkins, freed by bogus paperwork went to a jail about 300 miles away and registered as felons, records showed. They were even fingerprinted and filled out paperwork to apparently keep up the ruse. (AP Photo/Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

In this Sept. 30, 2013 photo released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Jenkins poses for a photo. Within days of strolling out of prison without a hitch, convicted killers Charles Walker and Jenkins, freed by bogus paperwork went to a jail about 300 miles away and registered as felons, records showed. They were even fingerprinted and filled out paperwork to apparently keep up the ruse. (AP Photo/Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

In this Sept. 30, 2013 photo released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Jenkins poses for a photo. Within days of strolling out of prison without a hitch, convicted killers Charles Walker and Jenkins, freed by bogus paperwork went to a jail about 300 miles away and registered as felons, records showed. They were even fingerprinted and filled out paperwork to apparently keep up the ruse. (AP Photo/Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

In this Sept. 30, 2013 photo released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Jenkins poses for a photo. Within days of strolling out of prison without a hitch, convicted killers Charles Walker and Jenkins, freed by bogus paperwork went to a jail about 300 miles away and registered as felons, records showed. They were even fingerprinted and filled out paperwork to apparently keep up the ruse. (AP Photo/Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

In this Sept. 30, 2013 photo released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Jenkins poses for a photo. Within days of strolling out of prison without a hitch, convicted killers Charles Walker and Jenkins, freed by bogus paperwork went to a jail about 300 miles away and registered as felons, records showed. They were even fingerprinted and filled out paperwork to apparently keep up the ruse. (AP Photo/Orange County Sheriff’s Office)

Lillie Danzy, front left, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, with her husband Jeff Danzy, second from left, listen as Henry Pearson, far right, uncle of escaped inmate Joseph Jenkins, makes a plea for his nephew to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, center, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, with her husband Jeff Danzy, to her left, and attorney Rhonda Henderson, right, listen as she makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, center, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, with her husband Jeff Danzy, to her left, and attorney Rhonda Henderson, right, listen as she makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, center, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, with her husband Jeff Danzy, to her left, and attorney Rhonda Henderson, right, listen as she makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013. Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013.Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013.Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013.Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013.Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Lillie Danzy, mother of escaped inmate Charles Walker, makes a plea for her son to turn himself in to authorities during a news conference at the Orange County Sheriff's Office in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013.Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, two convicted killers freed by bogus paperwork, are at large.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON

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TALLAHASSEE — Two convicted killers who were freed from prison by phony documents were captured together without incident Saturday night at a Panama City motel, authorities said.

Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker, both 34, were taken into custody about 6:40 p.m. at Coconut Grove Motor Inn. They were apprehended just a couple of hours after their family members held a news conference urging the men to turn themselves in.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not immediately release any other details about their capture or investigation.

Jenkins was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 1998 killing and botched robbery of Roscoe Pugh, an Orlando man. It was Pugh’s family that contacted the prosecutor’s office earlier this week and told them Jenkins had been released, setting off a manhunt.

The prosecutor’s office also discovered Walker had been mistakenly released. Walker was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1999 Orange County slaying of 23-year-old Cedric Slater.

Jenkins and Walker were both serving life sentences.

The bogus paperwork, complete with case numbers and a judge’s forged signature, reduced their sentences to 15 years.

Jenkins was released Sept. 27 and Walker was set free Oct. 8.

Family members and friends of the men said Saturday they initially thought their release was legitimate and spent time with them, even planning a birthday party for one.

Three days after both men were released, they went to an Orlando jail and registered as felons, as required by law.

They filled out paperwork, had their photographs taken and were even fingerprinted. By doing this, authorities said they didn’t raise any alarms.

Henry Pearson, who was described as Jenkins’ father figure, said he brought Jenkins clothes when he picked him up from prison and drove him to see his mother and grandmother.

Pearson planned a birthday party at his home for Jenkins a few days later, but he never showed up. Jenkins turned 34 on Oct. 1.

Before the capture, family members pleaded with the men to turn themselves in.

“We love you. We believe in you. We just want you to surrender yourself to someone you trust who will bring you back here safely. We don’t want any harm to come to you,” said Walker’s mother, Lillie Danzy.

Danzy said the family thought their prayers had been answered when she got the call saying Walker was being released. There wasn’t time to pick him up, so he hopped a bus to central Florida.

Walker went to church last Sunday, and his mother said they have been cooperating with authorities and made no attempts to hide him.

There are still questions about who created the legitimate-looking documents that exposed gaps in Florida’s judicial system.

In light of the errors, the Corrections Department changed the way it verifies early releases and state legislators promised to hold investigative hearings.

The Corrections Department said on Friday it verified the early release by checking the Orange County Clerk of Court’s website and calling them.

Corrections Secretary Michael Crews sent a letter to judges saying prison officials will now verify with judges — and not just court clerks — before releasing prisoners early.

The state Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Corrections are investigating the error, but so far have not released any details.


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