SEATTLE – A Washington state inmate serving a 163-year sentence for wounding seven people during a 2005 rampage at a shopping mall made another hostage grab inside prison walls, but it ended with a guard killing his partner in the escape attempt.
The effort to break out of Clallam Bay Corrections Center Wednesday was carefully planned by the two high-profile inmates, Washington state deputy prison director Dan Pacholke said.
While Dominick Maldonado, 25, held a guard hostage with a pair of scissors, convicted murderer Kevin Newland grabbed the officer's keys, unlocked a chained forklift and rammed it through a rollup door, sparking the shooting.
Maldonado followed Newland on foot with the guard in tow but released his hostage when a guard shot and killed his partner, said Pacholke.
Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said the guard suffered only minor injuries. The escape attempt lasted about 20 minutes.
Maldonado was convicted of wounding seven people in a 2005 shooting melee at the Tacoma Mall. Newland was serving a 45-year sentence for first-degree murder in Spokane County.
The two inmates both worked as sewing machine operators in the prison garment shop, which makes offender uniforms and coveralls, Pacholke said. They would routinely have access to tools like scissors during a shift.
Each had what "looked like an escape preparation kit" sewn into their bulky jackets, Pacholke said. Woven throughout the coats were containers of peanut butter, jelly, brownies, medication and water.
Interviews with Maldonado and "a wide variety of people" revealed details of the plan, the prison official said. At this point, it appears another inmate knew about it but it wasn't immediately clear if that person was involved, Pacholke said.
The inmates planned to flee on foot into nearby woods if they succeeded in breaching the prison fences, he said, adding officials don't know how long the escape attempt had been planned.
Both the officer held hostage and the officer who killed Newland are on routine administrative leave. They were not immediately identified.
Maldonado is serving a 163-year sentence for numerous charges related to the shooting spree at the Tacoma Mall. Four people were taken hostage during the melee, which lasted for several hours and left seven people injured. The most seriously wounded victim was left partially paralyzed.
Maldonado was convicted in 2007 of 15 crimes, including attempted murder, assault and kidnapping. During his trial, Maldonado's defense argued he was in the throes of a mental disorder and shouldn't have been held responsible for the assault.
He had been at Clallam Bay Corrections Center in the Northwest corner of Washington state since 2007, in the "close custody unit," which Lewis said allows some movement of prisoners, including work time and visitors. After Wednesday's incident he was moved into the "intensive management unit," where he will most of his time in his cell, Lewis said.
Clallam Bay and the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla are the state's two highest security prisons.
Newland was serving a 45-year sentence for first-degree murder in Spokane County. He began his sentence in November 2007 after a Spokane County jury convicted him of shooting to death Jamie Lynn Drake, the roommate of a woman he was dating.
Superior Court Judge Sam Cozza told The Spokesman-Review newspaper Drake was a "nice young lady" whose family suffered greatly over her loss.
"Most crimes are stupid and senseless," Cozza said. "This was more stupid and senseless than most."
Wednesday's escape attempt was the second in Washington state in less than a month, but the first in recent memory at a high security prison, Lewis said.
On June 14, 39-year-old James Edward Russell took off from the Olympic Corrections Center, a minimum security work camp near Forks. He was caught the next day after he knocked on the door of a cabin in the woods, only to find out the man renting the lodge was an off-duty guard at the prison he just fled.