CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Police are searching for a Lincoln County man who allegedly used the chain on his handcuffs to choke a Hamlin officer and escape from the county courthouse Friday evening.
Raymond Adkins Jr., 31, had just been arraigned on breaking-and-entering charges at the Lincoln County Courthouse and was being escorted to a squad car outside, Hamlin Police Chief Chris Wilkinson said.
Adkins' hands were cuffed in front of his body, Wilkinson said. When outside, the officer escorting Adkins unfastened one of the suspect's cuffs and asked him to place his hands behind his back to be re-cuffed for transport.
Instead, Adkins punched the officer, put him in a chokehold, and wrapped the handcuff chain around his neck, Wilkinson said.
"We never saw it coming," Wilkinson said. "We've had dealings with him before, and we've never had any problem with him."
Adkins eventually released the officer and ran from the courthouse with the handcuffs dangling from one of his wrists, Wilkinson said.
Adkins previously has been convicted of several other breaking-and-entering charges and was serving time on home confinement when he was arraigned on this latest charge, Wilkinson said. He was scheduled to report to jail in a few weeks, Wilkinson said.
"He kind of pleaded with us earlier about letting him go," Wilkinson said. "My guess is that he wanted to have a few more days of freedom before he went back to prison."
For hours after the escape, police combed through nearby wooded areas. Wilkinson said the search lasted until 3 a.m. Saturday.
Adkins has never been charged with or convicted of a violent crime, Wilkinson said, adding that he does not believe the suspect is armed. He said he hopes that Adkins will turn himself in.
"Contact one of us," Wilkinson said to Adkins via the news media. "We can solve this in a peaceful manner."
Adkins is 5'9" and weighs 186 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a gray shirt. Presumably, handcuffs are still attached to one of his wrists, Wilkinson said.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service