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Inmate pretends to be someone else to leave Fayette lockup

| Thursday, June 26, 2014, 11:12 p.m.

Two staff members were counseled, and a new policy was adopted at the Fayette County Prison because an inmate impersonated another to secure her release on bond, but no formal disciplinary action is planned, officials said.

Evelyn Grace Campbell, 29, of Uniontown is serving a three- to six-month sentence for retail theft, making her ineligible for bond. She stepped forward on June 6 when officers went to retrieve an inmate with a similar-sounding name, Maretta Ruth Gamble, 51, according to Warden Brian Miller.

Campbell kept up the ruse when she was taken to bail bondsman Mitch Mitchell, who was there to post Gamble's $500 bond, Miller said. Mitchell said he was suspicious because Campbell looked younger than Gamble, but Campbell told him she didn't have any identification and signed Gamble's name to the bond paperwork.

Uniontown police said Campbell turned herself in the next day. She is now charged with escape, identity theft and forgery.

On Thursday, Miller said that after an internal review, he found formal disciplinary action to be unwarranted.

“You really can't pinpoint it and say they actually made a mistake,” Miller said. “The lieutenant asked for this person. Control asked for this person. This person got sent down, and the girl played along with it.”

Dominick Carnicella, human resources director, said two staff members were counseled.

“We informed them their performance in that matter was not adequate and instructed them on how to perform more adequately,” Carnicella said. “The warden has established a more stringent checklist of items that need to be verified to ensure they are releasing the correct individual.”

Miller said the new policy includes a requirement that officers use photographs to identify inmates before they are released.

“We have a checklist now that they go down,” Miller said. “We check a photo. We check their name, their date of birth and we check their Social Security number and their charges.”

“Can you say it won't ever happen again?” Miller said. “I'd be lying to tell you that, because you never know. Those safeguards are in place to make sure it doesn't, but that doesn't make it foolproof.”

Sheriff Gary Brownfield, chairman of the prison board, was out of the office on Thursday and could not be reached for comment.

Campbell remains in the county jail, with her bond on the escape charge set at $50,000. In addition, she is awaiting a preliminary hearing on an unrelated charge of possession of drug paraphernalia filed by Uniontown police in April.

Gamble has since posted bond. She is awaiting trial, having waived her right to a preliminary hearing on charges of theft and receiving stolen property.

Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or lzemba@tribweb.com.

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