State police catch two escapees from Greene County Prison
A Daisytown man awaiting trial on homicide charges and another inmate with a record for escape made a short-lived dash to freedom from the Greene County Prison on Saturday afternoon.
State police caught the pair about two hours later nearly a quarter mile away by the Emerald Mine portal along Garards Fort Road after a short manhunt involving several local police departments, a police helicopter and dogs.
Prison Warden Harry Gillispie said staff spotted Jason Roe, 33, and Rocco I. Iacovone, 27, of Glendale, Ariz., running from the prison and immediately placed the facility on lockdown. An emergency headcount of prisoners showed that only the two men had fled.
Neither Roe nor Iacovone was armed, and no inmates or staff were injured, Gillispie said.
Authorities brought Roe and Iacovone to the state police barracks in Waynesburg for questioning.
“The ultimate goal was achieved,” Gillispie said, “to get them back, and no one gets hurt.”
The escape from the jail housing 104 prisoners occurred at 12:40 p.m.
Trooper Barton Lemansky said investigators focused first on capturing the men, then spent Saturday evening trying to determine how they got out of the jail.
Lemansky said a state trooper in a helicopter spotted the two men in the woods shortly before 2:30 p.m. After a short chase, both men surrendered peacefully, Lemansky said.
They wore prison clothing and prison shoes, Lemansky said, and did not have weapons or cell phones.
State police charged both men with escape and took them back to the Greene County Prison after they were unable to post $100,000 cash bond set by District Judge Lee Watson.
Roe and his wife, Lana Kay Roe, 40, have been inmates at the jail for nearly a year, awaiting trial for the Aug. 14, 2012, shooting death of Cordele E. Patterson, 38.
Initially, police charged Jason Roe with killing Patterson and wounding his wife at a secluded cabin off Strawn Hill Road in Greene County near the village of Spraggs. Police said Lana Roe suffered a minor gunshot wound to the head, struck by a few pellets from a shotgun shell.
Nearly 10 days later, police charged Lana Roe with homicide. A criminal complaint said that she told investigators that she and her husband bought the shotgun used to kill Patterson on the day of the shooting. She also said that she lured Patterson outside, where Jason Roe shot at him and his wife.
Lana Roe, who remained in the prison on Saturday, was not involved in the escape, Gillispie said.
Iacovone has been in the prison since February on charges of fleeing and eluding police, Gillispie said. Court records showed he had pleaded guilty in Greene County Court on May 8 and was awaiting sentencing.
Court officials had also filed two detainers against Iacovone, Gillispie said, one from Monongalia County, W.Va., for armed robbery charges and another robbery charge in Washington County.
Fox did not address the specifics of the escape in her statement, but thanked state police and local law enforcement agencies for their swift response. She could not be reached for additional comment.
Gillispie said the last escape from the jail, built in 1980, was in 1996. He said the prison underwent renovations in 2000 and 2006.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.