Sheriff's office investigators have seized a cell phone and nearly 25 grams of suspected marijuana from the vehicle of a former jailer who was arrested earlier this week.
A search warrant — filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Tuesday — was requested by investigators on Monday after 21-year-old jailer Robert Ellis was arrested Sunday on suspicion of aiding in an inmate's escape. A circuit judge approved the search warrant Monday, granting Faulkner County Sheriff's Office investigators the ability to search Ellis' vehicle.
According to the search warrant affidavit, Ellis was seen at his 2015 Chevrolet Camaro with an unknown man before allegedly aiding in inmate Glen Toney Jr.'s escape.
"Through jail phone calls, there is reason to believe that Robert Ellis was to receive money for his part in aiding in the escape of Glen Toney Jr.," the search warrant affidavit reads. "Through surveillance, just prior to the attempted escape of Glen Toney Jr., Robert Ellis was seen meeting an unknown individual in the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro."
According to other documents filed in circuit court Tuesday afternoon regarding the execution of the search warrant, investigators noted collecting a black digital scale, a black iPhone and 24.7 grams of suspected marijuana from Elllis' vehicle shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday.
Ellis along with 60-year-old bail bondsman Margaret Cockrell and Toney are each facing felony charges in this case.
Ellis and Cockrell were arrested Sunday afternoon just outside of the Faulkner County Detention Center Unit 2 on suspicion of furnishing implementation for escape, aiding consumption of offense, first-degree permitting escape and conspiracy of escape. Toney was charged with escape and conspiracy of escape following the incident.
Spokesman Adam Bledsoe said the sheriff’s office was tipped off that the two were working with 25-year-old detainee Glenn Toney to help Toney bond out of the jail. Toney was being held in the county jail on a $100,000 bond “on a variety of charges,” with one case showing he was to be held without bond.
“Investigators had probable cause to believe Toney offered money to Ellis to manipulate paperwork to remove the no-bond hold,” Bledsoe said Monday morning. “After the no-bond hold was removed by Ellis, Toney was bonded out by Cockrell, who allegedly conspired with Toney and Ellis.”
Conway Police Department detectives called the sheriff’s office March 2 regarding some suspicious jail house phone calls they’d overheard.
CPD detectives said Toney had called a man named Orlando, and asked for him to get his “Buddy,” to drop the no-bond hold out of the system. Buddy was later identified as Ellis. During one of Toney’s conversations with Orlando, he said that once he got out of jail “he was getting his new birth certificate, ID card and was going to the city.”
The group first tried the escape plan on March 5 but there were too many other bondsmen ahead of Cockrell, according to a probable cause affidavit. They planned to try again the next day, according to jailhouse phone recordings, but “Ellis was busy and could not work the bond table and sign paperwork for the bond.”
According to the affidavit, the group planned to try the plan a third time between 12-1 p.m. Sunday. However, this time, Faulkner County investigators were ready and “staged around Unit 2.”
Toney was arrested as he attempted to walk out of the detention center’s front door, Bledsoe said.
Ellis has since been fired from his position at the detention center.
“Ellis was immediately terminated from his job [as a jailer],” Bledsoe said Monday. “Sheriff Tim Ryals expects professionalism from his staff; maintaining the highest regard to law enforcement ethics and ensuring law is followed and upheld. Sheriff Ryals is committed to addressing issues swiftly when these ethics are compromised and law is broken.”
Ellis and Cockrell are each being held in the county jail in lieu of a $150,000 bond. The two are set to appear at 9 a.m. March 26 in Faulkner County Circuit Court for a plea and arraignment hearing regarding the aforementioned charges. Toney is scheduled to appear in circuit court June 5.