Two inmates convicted of sex crimes climbed a wall, walked across a roof, cut through two chain link fences and escaped from the state prison here, authorities said Sunday.
Warden Harol Whitley said investigators cannot understand how a tower guard did not see the two inmates escape Saturday night. Both men, considered dangerous, were still at large.
It was the first escape from the maximum-security prison in about five years.
Whitley said the inmates passed within 40 feet of the unidentified tower guard, who has been reassigned. There may be disciplinary action after an inquiry is completed, the warden said.
The guard should have seen the inmates climbing the wall and walking across the roof, Whitley said.
"We haven't been able to determine what he was doing at the time," the warden said, adding that it does not appear that the inmates had help from the outside or anybody waiting for them in a car.
The inmates were identified as Orlando Jaime, 23, serving a life term for sexual assault, and Rodney Halbower, whose age was not available, doing two life terms for rape and infamous crimes against nature. Halbower also is serving a six-year term for another escape attempt.