HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — Three out of the four inmates who escaped from a Hopewell minimum security prison over the weekend have now turned themselves in to authorities.
During the early morning hours on Tuesday, June 21 — just after midnight — 41-year-old Corey Branch and 46-year-old Kareem Allen Shaw surrendered themselves to authorities without incident. The news comes after 44-year-old Tavares Lajuane Graham, another inmate who had escaped from the Hopewell prison, turned himself in on Sunday, June 19.
Branch was previously sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia to 160 months for possession of fentanyl with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony; Shaw had been sentenced in the Western District of Virginia to 194 months for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin; and Graham was not only sentenced in North Carolina to 120 months for possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and more than 28 grams of cocaine base, but he was also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Supervisory Inspector Kevin Connolly told WFXR’s sister station, WRIC, that the U.S. Marshals Office has been working closely with local law enforcement teams as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons to investigate the incident.
According to law enforcement, 30-year-old Lamonte Rashawn Willis is still at large. Authorities told WRIC they are focusing their search for Willis in his hometown of Suffolk. Authorities have released the following photo and description of him:
Willis was sentenced in the Eastern District of Virginia to a 216-month sentence for possessing and concealing a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He has brown eyes, stands 6-feet 2-inches tall, and weighs approximately 165 pounds.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, all four inmates were discovered missing from the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) Petersburg’s satellite camp in Hopewell on Saturday, June 18, during an impromptu head count around 1:45 a.m.
According to Connolly, it is believed the inmates escaped from the Hopewell facility sometime after 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Connolly told WFXR’s sister station he believes that the media’s coverage of the incident has played a role in the three escapees’ decisions to turn themselves in. All four inmates will be charged for the escape, which could lead to an additional five years in their sentences, according to Connolly.
Anyone with information on Willis’ whereabouts is asked to submit a tip to the U.S. Marshals website or the USMS Tips application for mobile phones. Individuals who submit can remain anonymous and may be eligible to receive a reward of up to $2,000.