We begin with the developing story, police expanding the nationwide manhunt, the massive search for two convicted killers. Who appear to have devised a cunning way to walk out of prison. And it raises... See More
We begin with the developing story, police expanding the nationwide manhunt, the massive search for two convicted killers. Who appear to have devised a cunning way to walk out of prison. And it raises the possibility that other convicts have done the same thing, justice correspondent pierre thomas has this information at this hour. Reporter: The families of the men killed by two released murderers, fear and outrage. I fear for my safety. He knows where I live. It's very scary. If he doesn't come after my family, it's possible he will come after someone else. Reporter: Florida authorities realized the men had escaped after corrections officials did a courtesy call to victim families to tell them the men had been released. A frustrated family member called prosecutors asking why convicted killers were suddenly free. He was just dumbfounded. Reporter: Joseph jenkins and charles walker walked out of prison weeks ago after someone created a fake court order, the documents looked authentic, letterhead, signatures, even the chief judge. They cut and paste my signature and affixed it to the order. Reporter: Judge belvin perry who oversaw the case was a victim. They had to have outside help, because in one of those documents, it was actually filed here in the courthouse. Reporter: The attorney for joseph jenkins says his client isn't smart enough. He walked into a home invasion robbery with a ski mask, when they called him out by name he pulled the mask down. Reporter: They thought they got away scot-free. They were brazen enough to register with the state as felons, only days after their release. Inmates have been using phoney documents to get out of prison for years. But there is some concern the tactic is becoming more popular with inmates. Last spring, authorities caught another florida inmate attempting the same scam. And jenkins tried the tactic in 2011, but fa. Why florida officials were not more on high alert after those brazen attempts is an open question. It's frustrating to me as a law enforcement officer, these individuals have murdered individuals in this community. And so, we want to bring them back to justice. Reporter: The inmates walked right past the fences right out the front door, no questions asked, diane. Pierre thomas, thank you. Turn to abc's chief legal analyst, dan abrams. Dan, how sophisticated was this? Very. For them to get the seal and signatures and most important to, get it to the right person, to get this process moving forward was a very premeditated and well thought out plan. But you pointed out, that they tend to have a lot of time to think about these things. That's right. Look, prisoners have a lot of time, they haven't necessarily linked it to these prisoners, it would seem that they were connected to the plan. But it allows them to take the time to create a sophisticated plan. How many inmates escape every year? Approximately 1,000, that number way down from 20 years ago. But the tactics tend to be more old school. Meaning stolen vans or cutting and digging, overpowering guards. Those tend to be the most used method. How often do they get caught? Almost all the time. The vast majority of cases, and most of the time very close to the prison.
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