Federal inmate gets ten months for two nights of freedom

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An inmate who walked away from a work detail at a federal prison in Texarkana was sentenced to 10 months Wednesday.

Juan Hunerto Perez, Jr., 26, appeared with Texarkana lawyer John Stroud at a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas Wednesday morning. Perez plead guilty to escape at a hearing before Schroeder several months ago.

Perez was able to walk away unnoticed from a work crew at Texarkana’s low security federal lockup in April where he was serving time for a federal drug offense. Two days later, he was arrested in Dallas by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force.

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At Wednesday’s hearing, Perez claimed he escaped because he wanted to visit his gravely ill mother.

Stroud asked Schroeder to sentence Perez to four months for the escape. That sentence falls at the lowest end of the range of punishment Perez faced according to federal sentencing guidelines. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker argued for a 10-month term, the most severe punishment the guidelines indicated for Perez.

Locker argued that giving Perez the lighter sentence would only encourage other inmates to escape.

Schroeder went with the high end of the guidelines and assessed a 10-month term. Perez must serve that consecutively to a 51-month term he received in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

The escape might have cost Perez even more than the additional 10 months Shroeder handed down Tuesday. Earlier this year, the judge who sentenced Perez in Sherman denied a motion to reduce his sentence and specifically cited the escape as cause for doing so. The Federal Bureau of Prisons website currently provides a release date for Perez of Oct. 24, 2017. That date may change soon as a result of Perez’ new sentence.

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