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Florida prison escapees back in custody

  • Convicted killers Charles Walker, Joseph Jenkins recaptured in Panama City
  • Both used forged documents to get out of prison, authorities say
  • Relative of victim 'frightened,' feels system let her down
Florida prison escapees back in custody

Two convicted killers who were mistakenly released from a Florida prison have been recaptured. 

Charles Walker and Joseph Jenkins were found at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn around 6:40 p.m. ET Saturday, according to authorities. Both men were apprehended without incident.

Walker and Jenkins used forged documents that led to their eventual release from the Franklin Correctional Institution in Carrabelle, Florida, according to authorities. The documents, which bore the seal of the Orange County clerk of court's office, had the forged signatures of the state attorney, assistant state attorney and Judge Belvin Perry, who gained notoriety in presiding over the Casey Anthony trial.

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The documents were then processed by the state Department of Corrections and the men were released.

Perry said he wasn't entirely surprised about the inmates' ruse.

"People, particularly people with criminal minds, come up with ingenious ways to beat the system," Perry said. "They have nothing but time on their hands to think of things."

Walker and Jenkins were both serving life without the possibility of parole for murder. Jenkins was released on September 27, and Walker was freed on October 8, authorities said.

Evangelina Kearse, whose son was killed by Walker, said she received a letter from the Florida Department of Corrections about the situation, saying his release was beyond their control.

“We are in shock. We’re frightened and we feel let down that the system did let us down as far as letting a murderer go free,” she said. “I understand that the state attorney (and) the judge had nothing to do with it. But somebody, I don’t know if it was an inside job because I don’t think Charles did this. Whoever did it helped them. I do believe that. They had to have help.”

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Lillie Danzy, Walker's mother, pleaded Saturday for her son to turn himself in.

"We just want you to surrender yourself to someone you trust who will bring you back in safely," she said.

The Department of Corrections, which allowed the prisoners' release, said it was only following procedures and was "not at fault."

"We don't have the statute or the authority to question the court's decision," said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Misty Cash. "This will be a lesson learned for all involved."

CNN Wires and CNN's Nick Valencia contributed to this report.

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