A hole in a jail shower wall at the Candler County Jail was pure opportunity for a man who escaped Tuesday and is still at large.
Robert L. Williamson, 36, of Palm Bay, Fla., worked his way through the wall after finding a hole near a shower valve and working it until he could fit through, Candler County Sheriff Homer Bell said.
While there are plans to replace the damaged shower units, Williamson took advantage of the current condition of the walls and found a way to escape less than a week after he was arrested Aug. 1 in Bulloch County. He is charged with shooting Mike Mosley several times in the torso July 25.
Up until the day of the shooting, he worked for Mercer Construction, owner Bill Mercer said.
Williamson was a laborer and had worked “off and on” for about two months before the shooting. Mercer said Williamson hadn’t worked for him since the shooting.
The jail renovations began about two months ago, and plans include replacing showers, he said.
Candler County Administrator Jim Flynt said the renovations to the jail are funded by Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax money.
Williamson worked with Mercer during construction of holding cells and storage areas, but the shower replacements had not begun yet when he escaped.
“He was not inside the jail while he was working,” Mercer said.
Once outside, Williamson used a pair of bolt cutters to escape a tall chain link fence.
After the shooting, the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force sought Williamson and located him in Bulloch County on Aug. 1, said Metter Police Chief Dennis Nelson. U.S. Marshals and Bulloch County deputies arrested him without incident, but law enforcement officers had information that “Williamson stated to others that he would not be taken alive.” Nelson also said Williamson “does have a history of assault against police officers and should be considered very dangerous. It is unknown whether he is armed by now but he is known to be armed in the past.”
Tuesday, both Candler and Bulloch County Sheriff’s investigators, Georgia State Patrol troopers, Chatham County law enforcement officers and agents from the U.S. Marshal’s Service and Georgia Bureau of Investigation all participated in the search, using a helicopter and K-9 units. The active manhunt was called off around 12:30 p.m.
Nelson said Tuesday that Williamson does have family in Candler County but added that it is possible he was headed to Florida.
Anyone with additional information on this case is asked to contact the Candler County Sheriff’s Office at (912) 685-2568 or Metter Police Investigator Justin Wells at (912) 685-2190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holli Deal Bragg maybe reached at (912) 489-9414.