8 Use Sheets to Escape a Prison

Eight inmates dropped a rope made of sheets from a second-floor cell window and then scaled a razor-wire fence to escape a state prison in November, 1994.

The inmates, four of whom were serving life terms for crimes like murder and rape, may have escaped two hours before correctional officers at the Gander Hill prison noticed. Two were recaptured this morning about 15 miles from the prison.

The inmates, who were housed in a high security area, cut a bar out of a cell window with a hacksaw blade, then dropped about 25 feet on a rope made of six bed sheets. They fled across a recreational yard and scaled a 12-foot fence topped with razor wire, which they covered with a blanket.

The escape was discovered around 9:30 P.M. The inmates, however, could have fled as early as 7:15 P.M., said Stanley Taylor, chief of the Bureau of Adult Prisons.

The authorities said it appeared that the correctional officer supervising the inmates did not take the required head count at 8 P.M. and that he did not make sure the bars on the windows were secure. The officer was not identified by the authorities.

Patricia Bailey, a representative of the correctional officers, who have long complained about understaffing, said today that the escape would not have occurred had there been more than one officer assigned to the unit. But Mr. Taylor said the housing unit was designed to be staffed by one person.

Two of the fugitives who fled Monday, Santise Robinson and Robert D. Nave, were captured shortly after 9 A.M. by the New Castle County Police. Mr. Robinson, 24, a New York City drug dealer, was serving five life terms plus 137 years, for a murder in Wilmington. Mr. Nave, 34, of New Castle, was serving a life term for burglary.

Based on the NYTimes article