Bennett attempts escape from Perry County jail

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2005

MARION-Accused killer Charlie Bennett, who is being held in Perry County jail on charges of double murder, added one more charge to the list against him last week with an attempted break from incarceration.

A search of Bennett’s cell last week led county authorities to discover a tool and escape plan. Perry County Sheriff James Hood said deputies were able to foil Bennett’s attempt to gain freedom. Hood said Bennett had already been charged with attempted escape.

“We took a hacksaw blade from the jail that he had been working on one of the bars with,” Hood said. “We have charged him with attempted escape.”

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Hood said the find was the result of a routine search. He said Bennett had been placing Scotch tape on a bar in his cell when he finished sawing on it each day to disguise his plan.

“We were doing a routine jail search and searched his cell and officers discovered it disguised with tape,” Hood said. “Whenever he would get done he was covering up where he had been sawing with Scotch tape.”

Authorities were unsure where Bennett was able to secure the hacksaw.

Bennett, who has dodged trial dates in order to undergo psychiatric evaluations for the last year, has done little to help his case with the attempted escape.

Bennett is accused of the double murder of Lawrence Alvin Smith and Kenneth Dixie.

The most recent delay of his trial came only two weeks ago when his July 11 court date was delayed. The next criminal term of court for Perry County is not expected to take place until December.

When Bennett stands trial he will face two charges of murder during a robbery and the murder of two or more people as well as the additional charges filed against him for his most recent incident.

Bennett has a long history of criminal activity as he allegedly committed the murders only 18 months after pleading guilty to charges of bank robbery and assault. After committing the previous crimes Bennett was sentenced to four years in a state penitentiary for assault and eight years for bank robbery.

On Jan. 13, 2003 Bennett pleaded guilty to assault and District Judge Eddie Hardaway sentenced him to four years in prison. At the bottom of the order in the conviction report a four-year assault sentence was to run concurrent with a federal sentence of 97 months on charges of bank robbery and use of a firearm.

Three weeks earlier Bennett pled guilty to those federal charges and received a sentence of eight years in prison.

He was supposed to serve the time without the possibility of early release. However, through a glitch in the system Bennett was released from state prison May 1, 2004 when he should have been in until Aug. 2010.