3 escapees captured

Posted on Oct 13 1999

Three escapees from the Division of Corrections were captured yesterday after police authorities swooped down on a house in Kagman III around 5:08 pm , 46 hours after a massive manhunt was launched by the Department of Public Safety.

Arrested were 19-year old Shawn Appleby, 22-year old Jeronimo S. Ada and 27-year old Melvin N. Basa, who were all caught by surprise while drinking beer inside the house.

They did not resist arrest, according to DPS Commissioner Charles W. Ingram

The police, acting on a tip received from a telephone caller yesterday afternoon, rushed to Kagman where the three have been holding up since they bolted out of the jail Sunday evening.

“I never doubted at all that they will be captured immediately because my men are very good in surveillance,” said Ingram.

Appleby is serving a 40-year sentence for killing Korean businessman Byung Ok Suh in November 1996 after robbing the victim’s store, Chalan Market. He has a string of criminal records which includes theft, resisting arrest, assault with a dangerous weapon, and criminal mischief.

Ada and Basa are facing 37 counts of criminal charges, including kidnapping, assault and battery, robbery and illegal carrying of firearm in connection with a riot in Koblerville on July 11, 1999.

Police officers from various units have been mobilized since the escape of these men at around 7:46 pm Sunday, the fourth jailbreak under Ingram’s command..

DPS Public Information Officer Rose Ada said charges will be filed against the three escapees today. Investigation will be conducted to find out who helped them escape.

“If we find out that the owner of the house has helped them, we will also file the necessary charges,” she said.

Angry calls: Before the arrest, DPS has been swamped with angry calls from residents who vowed to shoot down the three men if they tried to enter their homes to protect their families.

Saipan Harbor General Manager Antonio Cabrera said he will not hesitate to use a gun to shoot any of the three escapees should they force themselves into his residence.

“I will not wait for the police. I will take the shotgun and shoot them first because it will take the police a long time to come,” said another government employee, who lives in Kagman.

Ray Austin, president of the William S. Reyes Parents-Teachers Association said the government should find a way to prevent such incident in the future. “Otherwise, they will have angry parents because they put the people’s lives in jeopardy,” he added.

While there is no guarantee that the construction of a new prison will deter inmates from attempting to escape again, Ingram said it will lessen the probability of jailbreaks since the facility will be bigger and there will be more guards to man the place.

“I don’t recommend anybody to take the law into their hands but I do believe that they have the right to defend themselves and the lives of their families if they are threatened,” said Ingram.

Police discovered the jailbreak when Officer Edwin Agoun who was off-duty at that time called the DPS dispatch to inform them that he saw Ada in a green jeep parked in Susupe Village.

“He just called to verify if Ada was indeed supposed to be in prison since he saw him in the area and he was told yes,” the source said.

The Division of Corrections immediately raised the alarm and ordered a security lock down. The three were confirmed missing after a head count.

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