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April 11, 2012

State inmate with McCreary ties back in custody

Somerset man in prison for home invasions

LA GRANGE —  A prison inmate involved in a string of robberies and burglaries back in  2007 is back in custody after he escaped from a hospital in Oldham County on Wednesday.

    Christopher Claxton, 32,  was captured at around 8 a.m. Thursday in La Grange, located in Oldham County about 30 miles northeast of Louisville, according to the Associated Press. Claxton had allegedly escaped from Baptist Hospital Northeast sometime around 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to media reports in Louisville.

    According to AP, a La Grange Police Department officer responded Thursday morning to a report of a pickup truck that appeared to have been broken into. The officer found Claxton in a vacant warehouse wrapped in a blanket he had stolen from the truck. He appeared to be using the blanket to keep warm, as he reportedly escaped from the hospital the night before wearing only boxers and socks.

    Claxton, an inmate at the Kentucky State Reformatory, also located in La Grange, was serving time for several violent offenses, occurring in McCreary, Pulaski, Russell and  Adair  counties.

    Claxton and partner Bryan  Turner (who is serving his sentence at the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex) were arrested in March 2007 in connection with a home invasion in the Pulaski community of Nancy. Officials said Claxton and his accomplice, both armed, approached a resident’s door and announced themselves as agents with Operation UNITE — a multi-jurisdictional drug task force covering Eastern Kentucky — and forced their way into her home.

    Once inside, Claxton and Turner tied the resident up and then went through her house  —taking a small amount of jewelry and cash.

    It was during the course of the investigation into the Nancy incident that authorities learned of a similar incident in McCreary County. A series of burglaries in Russell County and another home invasion in Adair County were also linked to the pair.

    Claxton admitted to his role in those incidences as part of a plea deal offered to him by local prosecutors in July 2007. He was serving a 20-year sentence for charges based on those burglaries and robberies at the Kentucky State Reformatory when he escaped Wednesday.

    Claxton’s escape set off a manhunt overnight Wednesday and into Thursday. Police urged people near the hospital to lock their doors and remain inside, and schools in the area advised parents to exercise extreme caution while taking their children to school Thursday morning.

    According to reports from Louisville media outlets, hospital staff had finished their treatment of Claxton and were in the process of discharging him when he made his escape. Claxton was reportedly not handcuffed, which allowed him to grab the gun from the officer's holster as she was unshackling his legs.

    Claxton reportedly bran-dished the firearm at the corrections officer and hospital employees, but no shots were fired.

    The hospital employees and the corrections officer were not injured in the incident.

    Claxton, who was recaptured approximately two miles from the hospital, will be charged for the escape.

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