BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. – Two inmates who escaped from a minimum security correctional facility in Black River Falls last week are now suspected in the brutal beating of an elderly convenience store clerk in the Tampa, Fla. area.
James Newman and James Misleveck were caught in Hollywood, Fla., early Wednesday morning.
The robbery and beating is just one incident on a long list of crimes the two men are accused of committing while they were on the run.
Thursday morning, they made their first of many court appearances since their capture in Florida. And, as the crimes in jurisdictions across the country pop up, the road back to Wisconsin gets longer and longer.
"It's going to be a waiting period right now, so I don't have any idea," said Jackson County Sheriff Duane Waldera.
Waldera said the escaped inmates' violent crimes make him question why they were evaluated as being safe enough to be in a minimum security facility in the first place.
"Wow, we had just, like, a time bomb waiting,” said Waldera. “And that's disturbing, knowing that individuals were in a minimum security type setting and just had all this going on in their minds.”
The escaped inmates' crimes also have some people wondering why it took law enforcement about 12 hours to notify the public of the escape.
Ho-Chunk Gaming employee Deb Lozano, who was held at gunpoint for hours after the fugitives hijacked her car in the casino’s employee parking lot, said that wasn’t good enough.
"I want to know where Jackson County was, that they didn't pick up the freaking phone and call and tell this facility, when we're 24/7, that there was a probability of escapees coming onto our property or in our community. I question that," said Lozano.
Waldera called it an "oversight,” and it's one he says is under review.
"What occurred in this situation brings us to reviewing our approach on these issues to make sure we give proper notification as quickly as we can," said Waldera.
He said the Jackson County Sheriff's Department has been doing trials of a public notification system that would send out alerts to residents' phones. But the department doesn't have it up and running yet.
Mislevek and Newman are currently being held without bond in Florida. They already face one federal gun charge. It's still unclear what charges they may face in Jackson and Monroe counties.