Convict who fled Orleans courthouse raises concerns over security

Print
Email
|

wwltv.com

Posted on January 31, 2014 at 11:12 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 31 at 11:21 PM

Dennis Woltering / Eyewitness News
Email: dwoltering@wwltv.com | Twitter: @dwoltering

Questions are being raised about courthouse security after another convict escaped from Orleans Criminal Court Thursday

 The bail bondsman who tackled the man and held him for deputies says it is even more troubling that the felon who ran out of court with deputies in hot pursuit appeared to have bullets in his pocket.

“I heard and saw a bunch of deputies yelling, ‘Get him, get him, get him,’” said Matt Dennis, a bail bondsman.

Dennis said the guy in a red shirt charged out of criminal court and was chased by deputies into the parking lot across the street on Tulane Avenue. He looked like a fullback dodging tackles.

“He was running through people. He was dodging people, and as he made a turn into the parking he basically ran right into me,” Dennis said. “And at that point we brought him down to the ground, subdued him and arrested him.”

Dennis said the man he had just tackled, Don Bennett, said something about having bullets in his pocket. 

“When they stand him up,” Dennis said, “I reached down and I felt them from the outside and he sure did. I felt them from the outside. They certainly felt like a pocketful of bullets,” 

According to the Orleans Criminal Court Judicial Administrator Rob Kazik, 28-year-old Bennett escaped from the courtroom when he was about to be locked up for violating terms of his electronic monitoring.

As far as Judge Karen Herman is aware, Kazik said Bennett had three things in his possession when he was arrested outside: a Harrah's gambling card, a Harrah's hotel card, and a Louisiana Purchase card. but no bullets.

A source with the sheriff's office says the bullets were turned over to a supervisor and disappeared.

A spokesman for Sheriff Marlin Gusman said, "He did not have bullets in his possession.  When he was captured by the deputies, he yelled out that he had bullets in his back, meaning bullets lodged in his back from a prior shooting."  

“I didn’t physically see the bullets.  But when he said he had a pocketful of bullets, I reached down and grabbed his pocket and he had what felt like a pocketful of bullets,” Dennis said.

Don Bennett is in Orleans Parish Prison tonight.
 

Print
Email
|