Man claims beating in recapture

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A man who was absent without leave from a Savannah work release program for a month is claiming that correctional officials beat him up when they tracked him down in Augusta.

A state Department of Corrections spokeswoman said John Charles Horn Jr. was arrested without incident last week, but could not comment on a prisoner's medical condition. Mr. Horn is at Augusta Medical Prison, and according to his family, was battered by several men in plain clothes who jumped out of an unmarked car.

The alleged incident has Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength perplexed about why the correction department's fugitive squad did not alert his office that it planned to make an arrest in his county, a standard courtesy among law enforcement.

Mr. Horn's wife, Theresa Thurmond, said the incident happened around 10 p.m. Dec. 16. They were in her car not far from her south Augusta home when a vehicle tried to run them off the road, she said. They panicked and tried to get away but stopped when one of the vehicles displayed blue lights. Ms. Thurmond said her husband immediately pulled over and both held up their hands.

"I was on the ground with a foot on my back so I couldn't see (Mr. Horn) but I know they were beating him because I could hear him hollering," she said.

When she next saw him three days later at the Augusta Medical Prison , his face was battered and bruised, as were the sides of his head, she said, and one eye was swollen shut. Mr. Horn said his chest and sides were also bruised and cut, Ms. Thurmond said.

While she was visiting, Ms. Thurmond said the warden made a point to come into the room and proclaim that no one at the prison had caused the injuries.

"I told him I knew that because I was with him when it happened," Ms. Thurmond said.

Kristen Stancil, a Corrections department spokeswoman, said Wednesday that the fugitive squad was composed of corrections officers and the Savannah Police Department.

Mr. Horn was wanted because he failed to return from his job Nov. 13. Mr. Horn was in a work release program at the Coastal Transition Center in Savannah, serving a 15-year prison sentence he received in August 1996 for burglary.

Ms. Thurmond said the family knows Mr. Horn was wrong to walk away from the transitional center, but that did not justify the beating.

Sheriff Strength said it is customary for law enforcement officers to alert local officers if they need to enter another county. It is certainly his office's policy, and he would like to know why his department wasn't informed before Mr. Horn's arrest, he said.

Although the holiday week schedule made it impossible to check with every officer, Sheriff Strength said he couldn't find anyone who was told ahead of time that a team was coming to make an arrest, he said.

Certified law enforcement officers have statewide arrest powers, but Sheriff Strength said his policy is to always alert and ask the local office to participate in any action his officers need to take in another county.

It could make for a dangerous situation for armed officers in plain clothes to make arrests in another county without advance warning, Sheriff Strength said.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com

Comments (40) Add comment
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robbie1
0
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robbie1 12/24/09 - 04:41 am
0
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I am sure that law

I am sure that law enforcement authorities are looking into this. I used to work with law enforcement and side with them the majority of the time, but this has a bad scent to it. I really hope someone comes up with a video or witnesses that will explain why this man was injured so severly.

wildman
1217
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wildman 12/24/09 - 05:18 am
0
0
I agree with Robbie, this

I agree with Robbie, this should not have happened. On the other hand his wife should have been arrested for assisting a fugitive.

JohnTaurus
0
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JohnTaurus 12/24/09 - 05:37 am
0
0
Law enforcement officers

Law enforcement officers swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. Few honor that oath. Officers hate to give up power over the sheeple. When a sheeple goes against the sheppards wishes, the sheppard used his staft to punish the sheeple, Be good slaves. Do as the masters order. Fall into line or feel the master's wrath fall down upon thee. You will suffer grief, woe, misery, sorrow and death for your transgressions.

washi73
12
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washi73 12/24/09 - 05:37 am
0
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well people do inflict wounds

well people do inflict wounds on themselves to try to cover up the wrong, therefore a sob story is made to keep all family members from going to jail. let the truth be known.....teresa admitting that her and her husband tried to elude the police, surley knowing he was wanted at the Transitional Center. What they wasnt suppose to come looking for him? If you try to fight the police and the fugitve dept, dont they have a right to defend themselves too? dont they have a right to defend themselves, when a escaped convict is loose. Yes wildman the wife should be arrested for eluding police along with fabercating a story and harboring a fugitive......and yes I know this story is way to fabercated.....just maybe the whole family are a bunch of theives

nofrills
0
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nofrills 12/24/09 - 05:45 am
0
0
Unless this man was resisting

Unless this man was resisting arrest then this man should not have been beaten, He can be guilty and his wife can be guilty and he made have tried to run. It doesn’t give anybody the right to use force unless force is being used to prevent the arrest.

washi73
12
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washi73 12/24/09 - 05:51 am
0
0
im thinking self inflicted

im thinking self inflicted wounds....honestlty....can anyone say lawsuit? i know the parties personally

UncleStrom
2
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UncleStrom 12/24/09 - 05:55 am
0
0
I will give this guy credit

I will give this guy credit for stopping for blue lights and not attempting to drive his car away after stopping. His bruises and cuts will heal. So much for getting early release though. Enjoy the extra 5 years, fool!

peebhvac
8
Points
peebhvac 12/24/09 - 06:06 am
0
0
If he was a fugitive on the

If he was a fugitive on the run he got what he deserved. Glad he is back in jail where he needs to be. Thanks LEO for protecting us against these low lifes.

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 12/24/09 - 06:39 am
0
0
He'd less than 2 years left

He'd less than 2 years left on a 15 year sentence and walked off? How smart is that?

RAWR
0
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RAWR 12/24/09 - 06:52 am
0
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Well criminals aren't smart

Well criminals aren't smart ...

johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 12/24/09 - 06:55 am
0
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This is an experienced

This is an experienced capture-ee. He new how to act to not be pummeled. Step one: don't escape from work release. Step two: If you escape, don't go straight home. Police will look there. Step three: If you escape and if you go straight home and the police find you, go totally passive. Shut up. Don't resist. .......don't get pummeled.

cricketflea
3
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cricketflea 12/24/09 - 07:02 am
0
0
I agree with the sheriff that

I agree with the sheriff that law enforcement in Richmond Co. should have been informed beforehand what was going on, but the man was an ESCAPED criminal---he got what was coming to him! Geez, he only had two years to go and was on a work release program to boot; he had it easy in prison. I guess you could call him a REAL dumb crook!!!

johnsdad
1
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johnsdad 12/24/09 - 07:44 am
0
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The Savannah officers might

The Savannah officers might have acted on purpose and did not want to notify rcso. Anyone every hear of "tipoff"?

bettyboop
7
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bettyboop 12/24/09 - 08:00 am
0
0
this sounds like the

this sounds like the future......be ready you stupid sheeple.

justus4
113
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justus4 12/24/09 - 08:14 am
0
0
Nothign new here...the eye
Unpublished

Nothign new here...the eye witness account will not be believed, her ability to seek justice will be stalled by U know who, and the thug policing operations will continue to violate particular citizen's constitutional rights. This is the first and last time anyone will be exposed to these particular events because again, there is nothing new here.

humbleopinion
1
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humbleopinion 12/24/09 - 08:26 am
0
0
Of course the eye witness's

Of course the eye witness's account will not be believed. It is because she will LIE about the events. She's LIED about it already. Her husband is a CRIMINAL and SHE should be charged with harboring a fugitive! I hope that SHE gets at least five years in prison like her LOW-LIFE husband will finish serving. Once again Justus4 has it completely wrong and defends the criminals. So typical of a whining liberal.

cparker
83
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cparker 12/24/09 - 08:46 am
0
0
He is an escaped fugitive...

He is an escaped fugitive... He should have got his tail whipped and they ought to throw his stupid wife in jail for helping him for a whole month. I am all for justice, but this is stupid!! We are hypocrits to worry about his rights under these circumstances and not the rights of innocent people that could have been harmed by this wanted criminal. If the wife didn't want her husband to get his tail whipped for escaping she should have called Sheriff Strength herself when he came home illegally...

UncleStrom
2
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UncleStrom 12/24/09 - 08:51 am
0
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cparker, thanks for posting

cparker, thanks for posting that. It means much more coming from you (seriously). Merry Christmas!

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 12/24/09 - 09:16 am
0
0
The criminal should be placed

The criminal should be placed back in big boy's prison for the remainder of his original sentence, and he should now be prosecuted for his escape from the work release program, and his wife should be prosecuted for hindering apprehension of a felon, and she should be sentenced to big girl's prison, and should have to serve every day of her sentence. Merry Christmas!

Crazy Irish
0
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Crazy Irish 12/24/09 - 09:32 am
0
0
If you run away they should

If you run away they should beat hunt once a day. Teach these [filtered word]a lesson. I'm tired of them having rights and law abiding, productive, tax paying citizens having none. They are criminals treat them like Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Tents and bologna sandwiches.

Riverman1
93467
Points
Riverman1 12/24/09 - 09:50 am
0
0
You guys need to calm down.

You guys need to calm down. It's time for an Ali G like line or two: "I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down to the lizards. And may George W. Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq."

tired of the crap
0
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tired of the crap 12/24/09 - 10:06 am
0
0
jerk what has bush got to do

jerk what has bush got to do with this ? idiot.

Riverman1
93467
Points
Riverman1 12/24/09 - 10:10 am
0
0
Tired of the crap, LOL...It

Tired of the crap, LOL...It was a little humor. Never heard of Ali G?

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 12/24/09 - 10:41 am
0
0
Let's see... Justus (U know
Unpublished

Let's see... Justus (U know who) tells us there is nothing new here. He is correct...a thug got busted and sent back to where he belongs, nothing new here. Isn't it funny? The propensity to whine seems to be inversely proportional to the intelligence of said whiner.

baronvonreich
1
Points
baronvonreich 12/24/09 - 10:43 am
0
0
When will these people learn?

When will these people learn? Just like Justin Elmore and all the other criminals who constantly break laws and run from the police - you get what you deserve.

Runner46
0
Points
Runner46 12/24/09 - 10:50 am
0
0
It is the police officer's

It is the police officer's job to enforce the law and the dictates of a judge. Looks like these plain clothes et al bubbas decided to ad lib a bit. The police are allowed to use only the amount of force necessary to get the job done. An over-abundance of enthusiasm is not allowed, especially after the cuffs are on the prisoner. These guys need a reprimand in their records at the very least.

JohnTaurus
0
Points
JohnTaurus 12/24/09 - 11:05 am
0
0
Bounty hunters for the

Bounty hunters for the privately run probation services. It's all about money. Organized crime making crime pay.

Does_it_really_matter
1
Points
Does_it_really_matter 12/24/09 - 11:34 am
0
0
Justus, does that HUGE chip

Justus, does that HUGE chip you carry around on your shoulder get heavy?

Pu239
284
Points
Pu239 12/24/09 - 11:42 am
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Runner? Using your gifted
Unpublished

Runner? Using your gifted assessment that the officers involved were "BUBBAS." I’m confident that you have surmised that Mr. Horn was most likely intellectually gifted, perhaps a member of MENSA? Given Mr. Horns superior intellect he should have been able to avoid confrontation with said “BUBBAS” correct? (Insert Sarcasm)

Runner46
0
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Runner46 12/24/09 - 12:03 pm
0
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Even the smart ones cannot

Even the smart ones cannot escape for long. (Fade in theme from "Bad Boys" and police car camera rolling.) Plain clothes cops have escaped suspect apprehended and cuffed on the ground. Cop1 decides Mr. Horn is moving around too much, so he starts doing a tap dance on Mr. Horn's ribs and face while Cop2 has a knee in Mr. Horn's back holding him down. Just standard police procedure? Internal affairs need to get involved on this one, if only to satisfy public opinion. Serve and Protect!

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