Joshua Duane Barnes Escapes Again, This Time Using Bedsheets

Joshua Barnes is on the loose a third time after rappelling 7 stories.

ByABC News
September 21, 2009, 12:08 PM

Sept. 21, 2009— -- Joshua Duane Barnes really, really does not want to be in prison.

Now on the loose on his third escape from custody, Barnes has got a posse of Texas and federal authorites on his tail hoping to put him back in prison for what may be the last time.

The 21-year-old escaped Saturday from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston where he was being held in a specialized offender unit for injuries he sustained in a recent fight with another inmate.

Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told today that Barnes was in his locked room, alone, when officers did a routine check of the inmates around 8:15 p.m. Saturday.

But during a subsquent check just 15 minutes later, Barnes was gone.

"They found a hole within the wall of his hospital room," Clark said.

Authorities believe Barnes cut a hole through the room's sheetrock to reach a portion of the window blocked by the wall and then, after busting through the half-inch to inch-thick glass, tied bedsheets together to rappel from the seventh-story room to the roof of another building about five floors below.

It's likely that Barnes, who is serving a 35-year sentence for multiple burglaries and aggravated assault, made it to the ground by descending to a series of other rooftops and ultimately jumping, Clark said.

"He operated very quickly," Clark said.

That could be because he has experience slipping away from law enforcement. He logged two previous escapes in Potter County, Texas, last year.

Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Roger Short told that the first attempt came on June 6, 2008 when Barnes fled the county courthouse shortly after being asked to take the stand during a probation violation hearing.

The second escape was on Oct. 4, 2008 when Barnes fled from the county jail recreational yard after hopping up on the corner of a roof and peeling back layers of sheet metal and galvanized fencing.

In both cases he was found four days later, hiding out at motels. Short said Barnes attempted to flee officers who caught up with him after the October escape, but was tackled and put back in jail.

The escapes, he said, led to heightened security in Potter County.