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In Hillsborough jail escape, experience helped

TAMPA — Raymond W. Marston Jr. has done this before.

The 50-year-old inmate who escaped Falkenburg Road Jail Sunday night pulled a similar stunt 26 years earlier.

That time, he was in custody on a robbery charge and managed to stay on the loose only two days before being rearrested.

This time, he's accused of a violent rape and robbery.

And, by Tuesday night, he was on his way to setting a new personal best: Deputies had no word on his whereabouts.

Marston continued to elude law enforcement two days after he vanished at 9:20 p.m. after a deputy left him unattended outside a jail pod, according to sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

Detectives believe the 6-foot, 150-pound inmate climbed up a drainpipe on a nearby building, ducked through razor wire and traversed the roof of a building in the jail compound, then escaped through a construction site at the south end of the facility.

He's had practice.

In April of 1982, at age 23, Marston was awaiting the escort of a sheriff's vehicle when he ran — wearing his jail uniform and handcuffs — from the secured confines of a county inmate stockade once operated by the city sanitation department at 1512 Clark Ave., jumped a fence and disappeared, according to court records.

Two days later, deputies found him in an unoccupied home, where a report says he had taken shelter until a search dog caught him trying to escape through a rear window.

That stunt earned him a year and a day of prison time, with credit for time served — a sentence imposed five years after the act, records show.

In the years since, Marston has had 22 more arrests.

State records show he has spent a total of three years and six months in state prison since 1981 on charges that include burglary, cocaine possession, escape and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

In 1998, he was sentenced to a month and two weeks of community supervision on charges of battery and resisting an officer with violence.

Carter, of the Sheriff's Office, said that deputies didn't know on Sunday of Marston's 1982 escape, but would have if the incident had happened more recently.

She said that while deputies have not yet located Marston, they had reason to believe he was still in Hillsborough County.

"It's getting round-the-clock attention," she said of the case. When he fled, Marston, whose aliases have included "Ray Dallas Cason" and "Richard Hamilton Jr.," had been held without bail since May. He is accused of beating, robbing and sexually assaulting a 21-year-old woman as she walked home from work on Sheldon Road on May 26.

Two Sheriff's Office employees have been suspended without pay as administrators investigate what led to the security breach.

Carter said Marston complained of chest pains when Deputy James Flagg took him outside his housing pod to await an escort to a medical clinic.

When Flagg stepped back inside the pod to check on the escort's progress, Marston fled.

Both Flagg, hired in 2006, and his supervisor, Lt. Michael Farrier, an 18-year veteran, have been temporarily relieved of their duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Personnel files for both men indicate no history of problems.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Rebecca Catalanello can be reached at or (813) 226-3383.

To call in tips

Anyone with information about Marston's whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-8477.

In Hillsborough jail escape, experience helped 10/28/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 31, 2008 6:14pm]
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