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Police: 2, Fleeing prisoner: 0

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

The old saw, "If at first you don't succeed, try again," probably wasn't meant to include felonies, but that's what authorities say one man did when he attempted to escape police custody twice in three days.

Decatur police said Zachary Zikimo Mitchell, arrested for giving false information to a police officer, tried to flee the jail after being booked in Saturday.

Mitchell, 19, of 1015 Seventh Ave. S.W., tried to make several phone calls and then took off running toward the municipal courtroom on the second floor of City Hall, said Detective Charles Ward.

The door to the courtroom was locked, leaving Mitchell nowhere to run. He was quickly taken back into custody, Ward said.

"He had a misdemeanor charge on him and he tried to escape. Now he has a felony," said Lt. Chris Mathews, a police spokesman.

Police charged Mitchell with second-degree escape and transferred him to Morgan County Jail, where he was held without bond on two counts of violating conditional release on earlier charges.

Housed in the jail's C-Pod Monday, Mitchell started complaining of chest pain, said Chief Deputy Mike Corley. A nurse checked Mitchell out and suggested corrections officers take him to the Decatur General Hospital as a precaution.

"They didn't find anything to indicate a heart problem or anything else, so he was released to be returned to jail," said Corley. "It's my understanding he attempted to get away from the jailers or attempted to run. Really, it was a kind of stupid attempt, because they never did take the shackles off his legs. ... How much are you going to do with your legs chained together? You might make it a few feet."

Corley said he's not yet sure whether Mitchell will face further charges for Monday's escape attempt.

"It was a pretty futile thing to do, and at this point there have been no additional charges placed on him for his attempt. My understanding is they never really lost control of him," he said.

Mitchell remained in jail late Monday.

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