Posted Jan. 8, 2008 –The Rev. Al Sharpton says that representatives of an inmate who escaped from a New Jersey prison have contacted him to help arrange the prisoner’s peaceful surrender.
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Officials with the Union County (N.J.) Police Department said Monday that they did not know exactly who had contacted the civil rights leader on behalf of Otis Blunt, one of two inmates who escaped from the Union County Jail in Elizabeth on Dec. 15.
"I am prepared to move within the next 24 to 48 hours to personally see if I can physically facilitate Mr. Blunt's request," Sharpton said late Monday, declining through his spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger to name the contact. "I have contacted law enforcement to see if I can be helpful towards that end."
The 32-year-old Blunt, along with 20-year-old Jose Espinosa, are the first inmates to escape from the facility since 1986.
According to authorities, the two tricked corrections officers by putting sexy pictures of scantily-clad women on their cell wall to hide holes they had chipped through the cinderblock of a high-security unit. Once through their cells, they hopped onto a lower roof and then over a 25-foot fence topped off with razor wire. To add insult to injury, they left a thank-you note for one of the guards, Rudolph Zurick, who they implied assisted in their daring escape. Zurick committed suicide on Jan. 2 and was buried Monday.
In addition to his new escape charges, Blunt is awaiting trial for armed robbery, while Espinosa has pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his involvement in a drive-by shooting three years ago and is awaiting sentencing.
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