Dauphin County inmate Andthony Ray Spears faces new charges Friday after investigators say he damaged a cement block in his prison cell in an effort to escape.
The prison has been on lock down since Tuesday afternoon when prison staff members say they found Spears had used a support rod from a cell desk chair as the tool to break through the cement block. Investigators said Spears hid the support rod inside a wall-mounted light fixture when it wasn’t in use.
“The likelihood of this succeeding was relatively low. But, it got pretty far and shows a level of sophistication more than the ordinary,” said Dauphin County First Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo.
Chardo said the escape plan started coming together last week after Spears pleaded guilty to burglary charges stemming from 2010.
“He had a reason he was trying to escape. He’s facing two 10-year mandatory minimum sentences,” said Chardo. Court documents indicate he’s due to be sentenced in April.
According to investigators, Spears started putting his plan into action Sunday, continuing into Monday. During the process, investigators say his cellmate told him he didn’t want to be part of his plan. In an affidavit filed Friday, investigators write, “When [his cellmate] told Spears this, Spears told [his cellmate] that he would kill his family when he gout of prison if [his cellmate] told the correction officers about the hold he was working on.”
The prison could remain on lock down into next week, meaning visitation will continue to be restricted and prisoners will have to remain in their cells. Prison officials are conducting a security sweep of the building.
The damage is estimated to cost about $5,000, according to county officials. Chardo said he wants Spears to repay that money, potentially getting it from Spears’ prison commissary funds, which are typically used to buy various items like office supplies.
Spears faces felony charges including: escape, criminal mischief (two counts), intimidation of a witness. he also faces a misdemeanor charge of procuring an implement for escape.
Chardo said if found guilty of all charges, Spears could face another 26 years locked up.