KANKAKEE, Ill. – A convicted murderer awaiting sentencing escaped from a jail in eastern Illinois Wednesday after overpowering a guard and taking his keys, uniform and SUV.
Kamron T. Taylor, who has a history of escape attempts, fled from the Jerome Combs Detention Center at about 3 a.m., the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office said.
Taylor, a 23-year-old from Kankakee, is considered armed and dangerous, Chief Deputy Ken McCabe said. He fled in the correctional officer's brown Chevrolet Equinox.
Local law enforcement agencies were helping hunt for Taylor, and the sheriff's office has asked for help from the U.S. Marshals Service's Fugitive Task Force.
"We are in search mode," McCabe said.
During his trial in February, Taylor tried to escape from the courthouse minutes after hearing the guilty verdict. Several sheriff's deputies and bailiffs wrestled him to the ground, and Taylor shouted expletives at the gallery as they led him away, according to a report in The (Kankakee) Daily Journal.
He also escaped briefly after his arrest in 2013 but was detained several blocks away, the newspaper reported at the time.
Taylor was found guilty of first-degree murder for the June 2013 slaying of 21-year-old Nelson Williams Jr. during a botched robbery at Williams' home in Kankakee. He faces a sentence of 45 years to life.
Williams was shot in the head on his front porch during a scuffle with a man demanding money. A 911 recording capturing the sound of the single gunshot was played for jurors.
The victim's fiancee, Rebecca Hoover, witnessed the shooting and provided dramatic testimony, telling the court she saw a man put Williams in a headlock and shoot him.
She and other witnesses acknowledged they did not see the gunman's face, but identified him as Taylor based on his clothing, including a blue hoodie, black jeans and white sneakers.
Taylor's attorney argued that he was mistakenly identified, saying he "made an unfortunate choice of clothing."