Escapee returns to county jail Friday

Published 12:58 am Saturday, August 30, 2014


After more than nine years on the run, an inmate who walked away from a work-release crew in Andalusia had a homecoming of sorts Friday afternoon.

Covington County Sheriff Dennis Meeks and Investigator Wesley Snodgrass picked Charles Daniel Pierce up from Bay County, Fla., yesterday morning and brought him back to the Covington County Jail.

As Pierce was taken into the jail, he said he was “ready to get this over with,” and that he escaped on his own in March 2005.

Additionally, Pierce said he did not know the name Oscar Roy Doster.

Two days after Pierce escaped, three other inmates – Doster, James D. Harnage and Darrell Ray Henry – escaped from the county jail.

Meeks said during a press conference Friday that Pierce was sentenced to three years in February 2005 after he violated his probation when he didn’t abide by a protection from abuse order. He was being held on a grand jury indictment for theft of property and receiving stolen property, according to Star-News archives. While serving his sentence, he became a trusty with the Andalusia Police Department and in March 2005, he walked away from a work detail around 6:30 p.m. At the time of his escape, then-APD Chief Wilbur Williams told the Star-News that his department had gotten Pierce about eight days before.

Pierce also used an Andalusia Utility Department truck for his getaway vehicle.

The truck was recovered in 2006, after Pierce was engaged in a high-speed chase in Panama City, Fla.

Meeks said Friday when he took office in 2007, one of his goals was to apprehend Pierce.

In July, Pierce, who Meeks said was using a different name, was arrested for failing to make a court appearance on charges of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia, in Orange County, Fla.

“It took them three or four days in checks to find out who he was,” Meeks said.

Meeks said that Orange County, Fla., and Bay County, Fla., have dropped their respective charges.

Meeks said that Pierce is now facing additional charges of theft of property, receiving stolen property I and escape I.

If convicted, Pierce, who is now a multiple felon, could face a sentence of 20 years to life without parole.

Meeks said he doesn’t believe Pierce to be violent, but his department would not take any chances with him and they would use leg irons and handcuffs when transporting him.

Meeks, who was not the sheriff when Pierce escaped, said his department has taken many steps to ensure inmates do not escape, including cleaning up locks, repairing cell doors, and placing a complete walk around outside the jail.