Richmond County inmate sentenced for deceiving jailers



A man charged with escape for allowing a fellow inmate to use his identification wristband was sentenced Thursday to one year of probation.

Brett Counts told investigators in January that Devontae Roberts stole his wristband while he slept at the Richmond County jail. Roberts, who was waiting for trial on charges related to an armed robbery, was released on Counts’ bond.

The mistake was discovered when a family member asked why Counts was not released.

Roberts was recaptured two days later and charged with escape. Both of his cases are still open.

In Superior Court on Thursday, Counts said Roberts threatened to harm him and his family if he did not turn over his wristband. He also admitted to providing Roberts with his Social Security number to assist in the escape.

Counts’ attorney, David Ghazi, told Superior Court Judge Carl Brown that if Counts had told the truth the first time, “he probably wouldn’t have been charged at all.”

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said at the time that failure to follow procedure by jail deputies facilitated the escape. Since January, the jail has implemented thicker wristbands that hold the inmate’s picture, date of birth, name, race and sex.

Counts was originally booked in January on charges of terroristic threats and acts and weapons possession, but indicted in March on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Court records show those charges have been dropped.


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