Idaho inmate who escaped from hospital in violent ambush pleads guilty

An inmate who escaped custody in Idaho following a “brazen, violent” prison break has pleaded guilty during a court appearance.

Skylar Meade went on the run while undergoing medical treatment for self-inflicted wounds at a hospital in Boise. He was eventually re-captured after a 36-hour manhunt.

Three law enforcement officers were shot and wounded during the violent escape.

Meade entered a guilty plea to charges of prison escape and persistent violator in an Ada County courtroom on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old inmate was serving a 20-year sentence for shooting at a sheriff during a high-speed chase. He had been transferred to the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for treatment after he engaged in “self-injurious behaviour,” according to Josh Tewalt, the director of the Idaho Department of Corrections.

As officials were preparing to transport him back to prison, an armed accomplice, Nicholas Umphenour, allegedly began firing at the corrections officers.

Two corrections officers were wounded by the gunman during Meade’s break-out. One of the officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries while the second was in critical but stable condition on the day of the shooting.

A third suspect, Tia Garcia, was also arrested on suspicion of providing the vehicle that Meade and Umphenour used to escape from the hospital. Her bail has been set at $1m.

All three had preliminary court hearings on 8 April, but Garcia and Umphenour’s preliminary hearings were bumped back to 29 April, according to KPVI.

Police are also reportedly investigating a pair of homicides that coincided with the escape they believe may be connected to the men, as shackles were found at the site of one of the killings. Both homicides involved adult men.

No further information has been made public regarding the homicides.

Mr Tewalt told reporters that both Meade and Umphenour had common acquaintances in prison and were members of the white supremacist Aryan Knights group.

Meade and Umphenour reportedly had spent some time imprisoned together in December 2022. Umphenour was released in January 2024. Both had been housed at the Idaho maximum security prison

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