A jailer and a bail bondsmen were arrested Sunday afternoon after helping an inmate escape.
Robert Ellis, 21, a detention officer, and Margaret Cockrell, 60, a bail bondsman, were arrested 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.
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 on 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. Investigators also arrested Ellis and Cockrell at the jail on Sunday.
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."