Shelbyville inmate escapes for the 5th time

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Andrew Phillip Marshall remained at large as of mid-morning today after yet another escape from Bedford County Jail.

It’s the fifth escape from a jail facility and the second in two months for Marshall, who used one of his previous routes -- out the ceiling and down the wall -- early Monday, Sheriff Austin Swing said. The escape is partially responsible for the dismissal of a jail official. Jail Administrator Tim Lokey was relieved of his duties Monday, Sheriff Austin Swing said. There were “several issues” leading up to Swing’s decision, he said Tuesday, declining further comment.

Searchers thoroughly probed the area around New Hope and Wallis roads southeast of Shelbyville, where Sgt. Trey Green told Swing Monday morning he thought he saw Marshall on foot.

“We’ve got a drone out and have brought in search dogs but the high water is causing them problems,” Swing said. “It’s two steps forward, one step back. Ponds are like lakes and streams are like rivers and the dogs are following the scent and losing it, then finding it again on the other side of the water.”

An escape through the ceiling is relatively easy, according to the sheriff.

“Parts of the ceiling are like you have in your home,” Swing said. “It’s ridiculous but that’s how it was built.”

Marshall cut through the roof of his cell, climbed into a ventilation duct, reached the roof and cut through metal slats and recently-installed wire mesh to reach an outer wall where he rappelled down to safety, Swing said.

New “metal-like” vent slats were recently installed in the ceiling in an attempt to make the building more secure. Marshall was able to work around the repairs, the sheriff said.

“It’s not like we weren’t trying to make it more secure,” Swing said. “Our jailers have received additional training on how to prevent escapes and we’ve done more work on the building.”

The sheriff noted Marshall had to work his way around tightly-spaced pipes in the ceiling. He said one maintenance worker expressed amazement Marshall was able to squeeze through.

Marshall’s escape was discovered about 5 a.m. Monday, the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office said.

“I thought we had him in the best place we could possibly have him,” Swing said when asked if there is another area within the jail Marshall could have been placed.

His previous escapes include a run out a cracked-open door in January; out the roof in October 2017 and in 2012; and through the roof of the workhouse in September 2017. Marshall also ran away from a county road crew in 2012.

“It’s getting pretty embarrassing,” Swing said. “I’m going to have someone from Tennessee Corrections Institute (the state agency which oversees jails) come down and go through the building and make suggestions for changes.”

The sheriff said earlier this year Marshall can’t be sent to a more-secure state prison because his convictions are for non-violent crimes.

“This guy’s never committed a violent crime. His arrests are all for things like DUI or resisting arrest,” Swing said. “No other local jails will take him. We’re stuck with him. There’s no place to send him.”