Captured fugitive will remain in Clark County court for now

Joseph Lee Knox was arraigned on a felony escape charge on Thursday morning in Clark County Municipal Court. He was also arraigned on a charge of receiving stolen property from a May 2010 case in which Knox failed to pay $155 in restitution. Judge Thomas Trempe said Knox will remain in the Clark County Jail until that case is heard by Judge Denise Moody. As a result, Knox won’t be transported back to Logan County until Sept. 14, according to court records.

Knox escaped Tuesday morning when he walked away from the garden area outside the secured section of the jail, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office said. Kitchen staff and inmates alerted corrections staff that he was missing. Knox had been assigned to work as a trusty at the jail. He was serving time on contempt charges and was set to be released Oct. 22.

He was captured by Springfield police Wednesday night after officers received a tip Knox was near the Executive Inn, 325 W. Columbia St. He was found walking near West Columbia and North Yellow Springs streets, police said.

It’s believed Knox committed a series of crimes after fleeing from the Logan County Jail. A homeowner in West Liberty reported a .22-caliber handgun and ammunition were stolen from a gun safe inside the residence. Knox also allegedly stole a dirt back from a home in rural Bellefontaine, driving it to Urbana, where a woman reported that a man matching his description knocked on her door and asked for gasoline.

He was also reportedly caught in the process of burglarizing a house in the 6000 block of North Ludlow Road in Salem Twp. when a resident returned home and found Knox inside.

Norman Kennedy and his wife said they returned home Tuesday after getting dinner around 8:45 p.m. and noticed a broken window, lights on in their house and a dirt bike leaning against the garage.

Kennedy said he grabbed a hockey stick from the garage and did a walk-through of the home. He didn’t see anyone inside and went to tell his neighbor what had happened when he came across Knox in some trees.

“I had the stick facing toward him and I put it in his chest,” Kennedy said. “He said, ‘I didn’t do anything’ and I said he had because he’d broken into my house.”

When Knox started to run, Kennedy said he swung the hockey stick and hit Knox. He fled into a cornfield and as Kennedy tried to figure out where in the field Knox might be, he and some neighbors who had come out to help heard gunshots, he said.

It’s unknown when Knox may face charges in Champaign County for those crimes, or appear on the warrant out of Madison County. Logan County Sheriff Andy Smith said extra precautions will be taken when Knox is brought back. He’ll be housed in a more secure area of the jail.

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