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A Hillsborough deputy's card playing aided jailbreak, report says

Raymond Marston was familiar with Falkenburg Road Jail before he escaped in 2008.

Raymond Marston was familiar with Falkenburg Road Jail before he escaped in 2008.

TAMPA — The inmate plotted his escape for two months, crafting a pair of walking shorts from boxer underwear and turning a pillow case into a T-shirt.

Raymond Marston accomplished all this despite being under constant supervision, because the detention deputy in charge was spending his days deeply engrossed in card games, according to a newly released internal affairs investigation.

That was only one of a series of security flaws that allowed a man facing rape and robbery charges to break out of the Hillsborough County Falkenburg Road Jail.

On Feb. 11, Deputy Kevin Corcoran, who had been assigned to Marston's housing unit, resigned, and Lt. Michael Farrier was suspended for five days, both as a result of the October 2008 escape.

Marston was familiar with the jail, having been arrested numerous times in Hillsborough County before he was booked on kidnaping, robbery and rape charges in May 2008.

He testified to the internal investigators, whose report became public Thursday. Here's what he told them:

He started planning an escape in August, hoarding a soap dispenser bottle and a pair of boxer shorts, and ordering a blue marker from the commissary.

He shoved the shorts and the marker's wick into the bottle with water to dye them, which took about two months. He hid this project in a supply closet.

He made a shirt by cutting three holes in a pillowcase, using scissors he had swiped from the haircut area.

While all this went on, he was supposed to be supervised by Corcoran, but the detention deputy spent much of his time playing cards and betting snacks, according to the report.

Several inmates said Corcoran spent four to six hours a day hanging out with inmates, playing pinochle, spades, 2500, tonk and casino. And he admitted that he sold his food to inmates for snacks or cash, and joined a weekly football pool under the alias "Pasco."

On Oct. 26, Marston donned his fake outfit under his jumpsuit and told Deputy Michelle Moore he was having chest pains. She called for him to be taken to the medical unit and Deputy James Flagg came for him.

While awaiting the escort, Flagg left Marston in a waiting area and went to an office to phone the medical unit. The report says he turned his back as he did so.

Marston bolted.

He dashed out of the waiting area, shimmied up a rain gutter and ran along the housing unit roofs to a place not blocked by barbed wire. Then he jumped down and vanished in the dark.

When Flagg's call ended, he asked the medical unit deputy if Marston was with her, and she told him she had not seen him.

This triggered a brief search, then a call to Lt. Farrier, the supervisor, who began searching with other deputies, the report notes, but didn't sound the escape alarm or warn local officers of a possible escape.

Investigators concluded that Corcoran, Farrier and Flagg, who has since died from illness, had been negligent, and created an environment that made the escape possible.

Marston was caught after two days on the run. He is awaiting trial in the Orient Road Jail.

A Hillsborough deputy's card playing aided jailbreak, report says 02/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 20, 2009 12:17am]
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