Convicted killer escapes from Mississippi State Penitentiary

A man serving life in prison for killing his girlfriend has escaped from the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, and visitation there is closed.

Corrections spokeswoman Jasmine Cole says 48-year-old Michael Blane Dowda is considered armed and dangerous.

She says officials realized Saturday afternoon that he was missing from a maintenance detail. He allegedly stole a white 2005 Silverado truck with Yalobusha County disability tag number 0922 and drove out.

Dowda was sentenced for killing Clarissa Lynn Jarrett in 1996 at their Harrison County home. He said he thought the gun was unloaded, because he'd removed the clip. Authorities said one bullet remained chambered.

Dowda is described as white, 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair and a tattoo on the left side of his chest.