The Commerce Journal

Local News

April 4, 2013

Two area jail escapees still at large

County deputies aid in manhunt; schools go on lockdown

COMMERCE — As of Wednesday afternoon, two inmates who escaped from the Hopkins County Jail were still at large.

The manhunt for Brian Allen Tucker of Sulphur Springs and John Marlin King of Cumby prompted lockdowns Tuesday at school districts across Hunt County, while Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks said some of his deputies assisted their counterparts in Hopkins County in setting up a perimeter where the suspects were believed to have been hiding.

According to a report from the Associated Press, the two men dumped their jail uniforms on rail tracks near the jail. They had white T-shirts and boxer shorts on underneath, and Sheriff Butch Adams said it was possible they had clothes stashed on the outside.

“Certainly, we’re going to do our best to get them back,” Adams told reporters. “We have a lot of help here from other counties and jurisdictions.”

Dispatcher Beth Renfro said a maintenance person noticed a problem with the fence around a recreation yard used by female inmates at the jail in Sulphur Springs, about 75 miles northeast of Dallas. Jordan said the men either slipped through a gap in the fence or they scaled it.

Hours later, deputies and other law enforcement were searching the woods and area east and northeast of the jail.

At 9:30 p.m., Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews sent out a statement urging Commerce citizens to take every precaution if the inmates were spotted.

“Commerce Police will have extra officers on the street throughout the night to follow up on other leads and to keep the citizens of our community safe,” he wrote. “Do not try to apprehend these violent criminals on your own. They are ARMED and dangerous.”

Crews added that additional officers will be on duty during the day to assist Commerce ISD Police Department patrol each campus.

Tucker was being held on $1 million bond in the 2011 death of Bobby Riley of Mahoney. Riley was found strangled in his home and some music instruments and firearms had been stolen. Jury selection in his murder trial was set to begin June 3.

Tucker was previously convicted of burglary and driving while intoxicated, and has been arrested several times for violating parole.

King was being held on several charges, including evading arrest, burglary and possession of a controlled substance.

Anyone spotting either Tucker or King is being advised not to approach them, but instead to immediately contact their local law enforcement agency.

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