A Massachusetts man bolted Monday afternoon from a second-floor courtroom at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor when a Superior Court judge refused to stay his sentence for 30 days, according to a prosecutor.
Tyler Grant, 23, of Gloucester ran past his attorney, family, friends and spectators and out the double doors into the hallway after being sentenced on charges of theft and tampering with a witness, Devon DeMarco, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, said Monday night.
“His month-old baby started crying, people were shouting, the marshals took the judge out into the back hall,” DeMarco said. “The defendant ran down the stairs, out the front door and across the street to his car. Our investigator, Garry Higgins, caught up with him and took him into custody.”
Bangor police officers arrived and took Grant to jail, where he began serving his sentence, she said.
Grant’s sprint marked the first time since the Penobscot Judicial Center opened on Nov. 23, 2009, that a defendant has escaped the building, Michael A. Coty, director of judicial marshals and emergency services, said Tuesday.
In 2001, two defendants ran from the former Bangor District Court on Hammond Street, but both were captured within 12 hours, according to the Bangor Daily News archives.
Monday’s escapade was not the first time, however, that Grant has run from law enforcement officers, according to the Salem News. On Aug. 7, 2016, Gloucester police went to his home in that city to arrest Grant on outstanding warrants. Grant went out a window with a sheet wrapped around him.
Officers caught up with a naked Grant at a local beach, the newspaper reported. He refused to surrender and tried to swim away after exposing himself to the families on the beach.
“Gloucester K-9 Officer Christopher Genovese sent his dog into the water in pursuit, and the state police helicopter used the wind thrust from its blades to help keep Grant from swimming further out into Ipswich Bay,” the Salem News reported.
Police apprehended Grant in the water and placed a towel around him as they brought him on shore.
In Maine, Grant was charged with theft of a firearm, a Class B crime, from a man in Lincoln a month before he was apprehended on the Gloucester beach, DeMarco said. While in a Massachusetts jail awaiting the resolution of charges there, Grant tampered with a witness in the Maine theft case by urging her to recant her statement to police, the prosecutor said.
In an agreement with DeMarco, Grant pleaded guilty to the Class C tampering with a witness charge and a theft charge, reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Superior Court Justice Bruce Mallonee imposed the agreed upon sentence of three years with all but six months suspended to be followed by one year of probation, but refused to grant the requested stay.
DeMarco said she expected that Grant would be charged with escape, a Class C crime that could add up to five years to his sentence. Grant also could be ordered to forfeit the $8,000 cash bail he posted in 2016.
Grant’s attorney, Erik Crocker of Bangor, declined to comment on the incident Tuesday because he was a witness.
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