CT inmate who spent 10 days free after escape back in court - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT inmate who spent 10 days free after escape back in court

Posted: Updated:
Jerry Mercado  believed to have escaped by clinging to the undercarriage of a vehicle as it left prison grounds is scheduled to face a judge. (CT DOT/Cherokee Sheriff’s Office) Jerry Mercado believed to have escaped by clinging to the undercarriage of a vehicle as it left prison grounds is scheduled to face a judge. (CT DOT/Cherokee Sheriff’s Office)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB/AP) -

A prison inmate believed to have escaped by clinging to the undercarriage of a vehicle as it left prison grounds faced a judge in Connecticut on Monday afternoon.

Jerry Mercado, who was in an orange jumpsuit, faded bleached hair, and a full-grown beard, faced escape-related charges inside Hartford Superior Court on Monday.

"His last day is January of 2019 so he's not a flight risk," Mercado's attorney said in court on Monday. "He will appear in court of course" 

State prisons officials say the 25-year-old man was returned to Connecticut Friday night from Georgia, where he'd been held since being apprehended Jan. 17. Officials say he initially fought extradition, but later waived that right.

Mercado escaped from the Carl Robinson Correctional Facility in Enfield on Jan. 7. He was serving three years for burglary.

He was taken Friday to the high-security Northern Correctional Institution in Somers.

An arrest warrant released on Monday detailed what happened.  At 11:56 a.m., based on prison surveillance video, police said Mercado left his open/unlocked dorm style cell then scaled an inner fence to the dormitory rooftop. According to the warrant, then he stowed away underneath a state-owned maintenance van inside the prison grounds.

Wearing his tan prison-issued uniform, Mercado was seen on a nearby businesses surveillance at 12:13 p.m. making his way on foot almost four miles down Shaker Road to the Enfield Burger King where he called his mom at 12:59 p.m. He told her he'd been released from prison and asked for a ride.

At 2 p.m., Mercado’s mom and her sister went to the Burger King. They told police Mercado started asking them about family out of state as they headed back to Hartford.

Around 3 p.m., right around that time the prison noticed him missing during a routine head count. Mercado was in Hartford where he got a change of clothes at his aunt's home. As he got dropped him off on Bonner Street he told his mom "that he loved her and that he had done something wrong."

Robles became suspicious of her son’s story and called the prison at 3:55 p.m.

"Was advised of a facility emergency and the call was disconnected prior to her providing her sons name."

Robles also found out through her sister that the news was reporting her son’s escape and she contacted the Hartford Police Department to report it at 5:24 p.m.

 Collin Provost, who is the president of the Connecticut State Prison Employees Union/AFSCME Local 391, released a statement on Monday. 

“The Mercado escape remains an example of what can happen – and opportunities such as this continue to exist for convicted felons – when the State places dollars and cents ahead of safety and security. Reductions in staffing and post positions may look good on paper, but put our prisons and communities at risk," Provost said. 

Meanwhile, the prison employees union has five members that have been put on temporary leave related to the escape.  

Mercado was on the run for nearly 2 weeks and made it to Canton, Ga. where a phone call to his mother led police right to him. 

A woman in the courtroom yelled out Jerry's name on Monday, but she didn't want to talk to the media about him outside.

Mercado is expected back in Enfield Superior Court on Tuesday.

To read the full arrest warrant, click here

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.