Inmate Pleads Guilty To Carjacking
During Escape From Ottawa County Jail
WICHITA, KAN. – One of four men who escaped from the Ottawa County Jail has pleaded guilty to federal carjacking charges, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced today.
Eric Jerome James, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of carjacking. James was one of four inmates who escaped from the Ottawa County Jail April 18. The Kansas Attorney General’s Office filed criminal escape charges against the other three last week.
In his plea, James admitted that he was still on foot shortly after fleeing the jail in Minneapolis, Kan., when he encountered a victim identified as J.H., who was leaving home for work. James overpowered J.H. by threat and force, demanding he give up control of the vehicle. The victim fled after suffering serious bodily injury to his face and James drove away alone in J.H.’s vehicle. James was arrested April 20 in Omaha, Neb. As part of the plea agreement, the state of Kansas will not charge James for the jail escape.
Sentencing is set for Oct. 26. Both parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of 18 years in federal prison to be served consecutive to the remaining 12 years James has in state prison.
Grissom and Schmidt commended the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Kansas Department of Corrections, the Ottawa County Sheriff and the Ottawa County Attorney’s Office for their work on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag is prosecuting. Assistant Attorney General Steve Karrer represented the Attorney General’s Office.