Police arrest jail escapee, again

ST. GEORGE — A St. George man who made headlines in 2013 after escaping from the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility was arrested again Thursday while trying to flee from police.

Authorities responded to the residence of 24-year-old Joseph Anthony Graham to arrest him on three third-degree felony no-bail warrants issued by the 5th District Court, along with a cash-only bail warrant issued by the Washington City Justice Court.

Joseph Anthony Graham, of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Dec. 3, 2015 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Joseph Anthony Graham, of St. George, Utah, booking photo posted Dec. 3, 2015 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Six probation and parole agents responded to the 2100 West block of 1700 North in St. George and made a perimeter around the residence, according to a probable cause statement filed by Adult Probation and Parole in support of the arrest.

Just before 12:30 p.m., agents observed Graham leaving his residence in a red car.

When authorities initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle, Graham exited the car and “ran north through two residential houses,” according to the statement of probable cause.

After a brief police chase, Graham was found hiding in some bushes behind a fence and was taken into custody.

During a search of Graham’s person, the statement said, a 6-inch knife was found in his pocket along with a 5-inch knife hanging from a chain around Graham’s neck.

Graham was booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility and charged with two third-degree felonies for possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and a class A misdemeanor for failure to stop at the command of police.

In addition to the warrants, Judge John Walton, of the 5th District Court, ordered $2,500 cash-only bail for Graham’s release pending trial on the new charges filed Thursday.

He was found indigent by the court during his initial court appearance Friday and will be represented by court-appointed attorney Douglas Terry. He is scheduled to make his next court appearance Dec. 14.

This was not the first time Graham has gone on the run from police.

In August 2013, Graham escaped from Purgatory Correctional Facility by using the jail’s intercom system to fool corrections officers into believing he was a guard. Because there were no cameras installed at the time on the two doors Graham passed through, the officers at the guard station could not see the person requesting access over the intercom.

Graham walked out of a temporary holding cell around 3:30 p.m. after guards failed to ensure the door to his cell was properly closed and locked. From his cell, Graham made his way through the facility to a locked door with an intercom panel.

The intercom allows the jail staff to communicate with the guard station and request access through various doors throughout the facility. After pushing a button on the intercom panel, Graham gave a false name and the officer at the guard station opened the door.

Graham used the same strategy to pass through at least one more door before he found himself in an unsecured area of the facility where he escaped.

Authorities located and captured Graham around 9:40 p.m. that same day. The facility’s security system has since been upgraded, and additional cameras have been added.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • ladybugavenger December 8, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    He looks happy to be back at purgatory.

  • Proud Rebel December 8, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Looking at his picture, it would appear that he thinks the whole thing is just a big joke.

  • 42214 December 8, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Shoot him, get it over with.

  • sagemoon December 9, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Yep, he sure is happy to be back in custody.

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