Nathaniel Reece Harris, 25, of Grundy Virginia entered guilty pleas to one charge each of Escape Without Force and Violation of Probation.
During the sentencing hearing, the Commonwealth presented evidence that on November 2, 2017, Harris, who had appeared in the Circuit Court regarding his probation violation, escaped from custody.
Officer Billie McGlothlin testified that as he was returning Harris to the holding pod, Harris broke free and began running toward Rt 460. McGlothlin caught Harris, but as he attempted to return the inmate, Harris broke free for a second time and began running across Rt. 460 toward the WalMart shopping center.
Officer Matthew Mullins testified that he observed the inmate breaking free, and he began pursuing him on foot. Mullins chased Harris across 460, down the embankment, and into the Levisa River, eventually apprehending him on the far side of the river.
During Arguments, Commonwealth’s Attorney Gerald Arrington argued that Harris was deserving of a significant sentence for “his disregard for the rule of law, the rules of court, and the safety of our officers.” Arrington further argued that the Court needed to send a clear message that it would not tolerate such behavior out of inmates who come to court.
Ultimately Judge Patrick Johnson agreed and ordered that Harris serve an active two year and six month sentence. Harris was also given an additional ten years and six months, which was suspended on his successful completion of five years of supervised probation upon his release.
Arrington stated, “I am pleased that the Court saw Harris’ behavior as not only dangerous to our members of law enforcement, but also as a danger to the residents and visitors doing business at or near our public offices in the courthouse. With Harris receiving a notable sentence, it is my hope that defendants will think twice before fleeing custody while being transported.”