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Two escaped murder suspects are captured 2 miles from Arkansas jail

By Rick Martin and Michael Martinez, CNN
updated 7:35 PM EDT, Fri June 1, 2012
Cortez Rashod Hooper and Quincy Vernard Stewart escaped from jail on Monday.
Cortez Rashod Hooper and Quincy Vernard Stewart escaped from jail on Monday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Quincy Vernard Stewart and Cortez Rashod Hooper are caught in a vacant house
  • They are murder suspects who escaped from a jail in Arkansas
  • The two men unsuccessfully tried to flee when officers entered the house
  • One said, "It was easy getting out. I'll do it again," according to chief deputy

(CNN) -- Two murder suspects who escaped from an Arkansas jail have been captured in a vacant house just a couple of miles away, Miller County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Duke Schoefield said Friday.

Quincy Vernard Stewart, 36, and Cortez Rashod Hooper, 23, escaped from jail Monday and were captured by law officers Thursday night in Texarkana, Arkansas, Schoefield said.

When officers entered the house, both men ran. Hooper was tackled by two officers and Stewart dove out a window right into the arms of two other officers, Schoefield said.

"They were mouthy once handcuffed, and on camera one of them said, 'It was easy getting out. I'll do it again,'" Schoefield told CNN. "When we arrested them, they were in possession of a loaded firearm."

Earlier this week, authorities arrested Stewart's mother on accusations of helping the two murder suspects escape jail by sneaking in hacksaw blades.

Charlene Stewart, 55, of Texarkana, passed up to four hacksaw blades to her son, authorities said.

Schoefield said Charlene Stewart was arrested late Tuesday and was in a Texarkana jail facing felony charges of furnishing prohibited articles and implements of escape.

Schoefield said an investigation revealed how the hacksaws were brought into the jail.

Stewart had a court date on May 20 in the courthouse in downtown Texarkana, and Stewart's mother was in the gallery, Schoefield said.

"When about 22 prisoners were taken out of the courtroom with Stewart being one of them, his mother was able to pass to him a bag containing hacksaw blades, small amount of marijuana and a cell phone," Schoefield said.

"He placed the articles in his legal papers," contained in a large legal-size envelope, Schoefield said. "By federal law authorities are not allowed to search a prisoner's legal papers, so when he was searched at the jail upon return, he was able to sneak the hacksaws in."

Authorities' search of the jail cell showed that the two suspects apparently used a hacksaw to cut through metal bars covering a 1-by-3.5-foot window and then broke the glass to gain access to an outside courtyard, authorities said. Two mattresses were pushed through the broken window in an effort to soften the detainees' landing.

The two suspects then managed to get outside a 10-foot fence topped with razor wire.

A police K-9 unit was brought in but failed to track the men.

Hooper is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault, said county dispatcher Vanessa Schaeffer.

Stewart was being held on a capital murder charge from Bowie County, Texas, and also is charged with possession of a controlled substance.

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