BALTIMORE – An inmate serving three life sentences for attempted murder convictions pretended to be a cellmate who was due for release and walked out of a Baltimore prison, corrections officials said Thursday night.
A manhunt was underway for Raymond Taylor, 26, of New York, who walked away from the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center about 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
Maryland Commissioner of Correction J. Michael Stouffer said the investigation into how Taylor was mistakenly released is in its preliminary stages. But he said that at 11 a.m., Taylor was placed in a cell with an inmate who scheduled to be released.
"That is not how our process goes. That was a mistake," Stouffer said.
The prison is a former "Supermax" facility that's now used to house inmates who are awaiting court appearances or moving from one prison to another. It houses 540 inmates; 214 are federal prisoners.
Stouffer said that on Thursday morning, a transportation detail arrived at MCAC from western Maryland with Taylor, who was due in court on a matter not related to his convictions. He was placed in the cell with the other inmate.
At 1:45 p.m., Stouffer said, a line officer called the name of the other inmate. Taylor went to the front of the cell, Stouffer said, and handed the officer the other inmate's ID card.
"He presented himself as the other inmate," Stouffer said. "He was asked for the ID number, and he (said) it."
Twice more, Taylor was asked to identify himself by different prison workers, Stouffer said. Each time, Taylor recited the other inmate's ID number. Taylor was released.
Stouffer said the mistake was discovered about 3:45 p.m. when the other inmate began kicking on the cell door, demanding to be released.
"We will help to do whatever we can to get this guy back in custody," Stouffer said. Taylor is a black male, six feet, one inch tall and weighing 175 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair.
Prison officials said Taylor was convicted of 3 counts of attempted murder in 2005, but declined to release further details of the case.
Associated Press Writer Ben Nuckols contributed to this story.