COLUMBIA, S.C. – Two inmates who escaped from a maximum-security prison were captured Thursday shortly after noon following a three-day manhunt, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Jimmy Causey (search), 35, a convicted kidnapper, and Johnny Brewer (search), 39, a convicted murderer, were apprehended at the Palms Motel in Ridgeland along busy Interstate 95, SLED Chief Robert Stewart said.
Stewart would not immediately release details of the capture but said the men were being transported back to Columbia.
Workers in the area near the motel said helicopters were in the sky and men were led away in handcuffs.
A pizza delivery driver says she tipped off authorities when she recognized a customer as one of the two men sought by authorities.
Judie Trainer, manager of the Buck's Pizza (search) in Ridgeland, told The Associated Press by phone that she got a "funny feeling" when a customer at the Palms asked her to step inside his room to pay for his pizza. When the customer came to the door to give her more money, Trainer said she recognized him as one of the escaped convicts and had her husband call authorities.
"I knew all along something wasn't right," Trainer said.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Tim Stec said Thursday that "an individual has come forward and claimed" the $5,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the inmates and the request has been forwarded to Washington for final consideration.
Trainer said that she wants to speak with the marshals about the reward, but had not yet done so. "I feel like it's coming," she said.
The inmates escaped from the Broad River Correctional Institution early Tuesday by hiding on a trash truck, prisons director Jon Ozmint said.
A maid at the Palms said she spoke with Causey on Thursday morning when she went to clean the room where he and Brewer were staying.
"I said, 'Can I get you some fresh towels?'" Pat Smith told AP. "He had some story about his car being towed and how it was going to cost him 60 dollars to tow it around the corner."
Smith said when Causey checked into the motel he told the clerk he didn't have any identification because it had been in the car that was towed. Smith said that she never saw Brewer and only spoke with Causey.
"He was real friendly," she said. "When they got [Brewer] in the cuffs, [Causey] said, 'Can I get my money [for the room] back?' He said, 'Can I get a refund?'"
Palms owner Manjula Shah told AP that she checked Causey into the motel between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Tuesday.
"He was smiling and a normal guy," Shah said. "They didn't make noise or anything. ... [Causey] just asked this morning for pizza. He said, 'I want to call a pizza place' ... so I opened the line for him."
Brewer and Causey previously made a stop at the nearby Carolina Lodge. Clerk Vic Parekh said he checked in Ashley Bostic around 2 p.m. Tuesday and gave him her driver's license. "She didn't mention at that time" that she was traveling with anyone else, Parekh said. Bostic said she would be staying for several nights, he said.
The 23-year-old Bostic, of Hopkins, was charged Thursday with harboring an escaped convict.
Parekh said Bostic asked for a freezer and microwave to be brought up to the room where she said her boyfriend was resting. Parekh said when he went into the room he did not see Causey's face because he was at the sink. At that point, "we didn't suspect anything," Parekh said. "We were just doing it as a regular check."
Parekh said law enforcement officials showed up at the hotel around 7 p.m. Tuesday night and asked if anyone by the name of Ashley had checked in. Parekh gave them the key to Bostic's room, but when officers arrived, the room was empty.
According to arrest warrants, Bostic confessed to driving Causey and Brewer to Ridgeland, about 110 miles south of Columbia, to help them get away. The car was recovered Tuesday night in Orangeburg County, between Columbia and Ridgeland.
Steven Blair Goodwin, 26, and Kate Tilley, 21, both of Hopkins, also were charged with obstruction of justice and lying to police. Goodwin is Causey's half brother.
In 2004, Causey was convicted of holding Columbia attorney Jack Swerling and his family at gunpoint in their home in 2002. Brewer was convicted in 1999 for strangling his sister-in-law Kelly Burbage in 1994.