Androscoggin County Jail break plot foiled

By Christopher Williams, Sun Journal
Posted Jan. 03, 2012, at 5:03 p.m.

AUBURN, Maine — Two men were sent to jails elsewhere in the state after officials at Androscoggin County Jail discovered evidence of plans for an escape shortly before Christmas.

Following up on a tip, jail officials discovered evidence of a planned breakout on Dec. 21, including a broken window that was intended as the men’s escape route. Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins said Tuesday he couldn’t comment on what additional evidence was found because the plot remains under investigation.

“We found [the tip] to be accurate,” he said.

A Lewiston Police Department detective passed along the information from a confidential informant to jail officials during an investigation of a mid-December stabbing in Lewiston. Cleveland O’Neal Cruthirds, 25, of Lewiston had been charged with attempted murder in connection with the multiple stabbing of 21-year-old Naomi Swift and housed at the county jail since.

Also implicated in the planned jail-break was Kyle Corey, 43, of Portland, who was shot by law enforcement officials after he knocked down an officer with the car he was driving following a car chase last November.

Corey has also been housed at the jail since his capture.

For security reasons, Corey was moved to Somerset County Jail in Madison; Cruthirds was taken to Maine State Prison in Warren.

Desjardins said the breakout was planned for Echo Block in the medium security area at the jail. Glass in a window facing the adjacent YMCA had been smashed, but a steel bar likely would have prevented access to the outside, Desjardins said.

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Cruthirds had also been charged with elevated aggravated assault, burglary and violating bail. Swift had known Cruthirds, but he had been ordered to stay away from her after an earlier assault charge involving her.

Swift survived stab wounds to her arms, abdomen, face and head. During her hospital stay, she was deaf in one ear and unable to lift her right arm. One of her lungs had been nicked and she suffered cranial nerve damage.

In an interview with the Sun Journal, Swift said she was sitting in her apartment with another woman when Cruthirds broke into her apartment, then her bedroom. He was in a rage, Swift said, because she had been talking on the phone to her husband, who is in prison.

“He burst through my bedroom door,” Swift said. “He said, ‘You’re dead, bitch. You’re dead.’”

According to a police affidavit, Cruthirds was also angry because Swift had been talking to her ex-boyfriend online. In a 911 call, Cruthirds could be heard shouting, “You cheated on me” as Swift tries to explain her plight to an emergency dispatcher.

It was while she was placing that phone call that the scene in her apartment turned horror-movie bad.

“He grabbed a knife from the kitchen,” Swift said. “He jumped on top of me and just started stabbing. I was begging him to stop.”

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Corey had been shot in the shoulder by a law enforcement officer in November following an hour-long car chase that began at Walnut and Bartlett streets in Lewiston and ended at the Lincoln Street parking garage, police said. Corey had been a passenger in the stolen Ford Focus until it crashed into a fence at a parking lot on Chestnut Street.

When the driver fled on foot, Corey got into the driver’s seat and knocked down an officer at the scene. But the car lodged on a fence and Corey was taken into custody. The driver of the car during the chase also was captured and taken into custody.

Corey also had been charged in connection with the robbery and assault of a 77-year-old woman who police said was pushed to the ground, her purse snatched as she was walking into a Shaw’s Supermarket on East Avenue.

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http://bangordailynews.com/2012/01/03/news/police-beat/androscoggin-county-jail-break-plot-foiled/ printed on November 28, 2014