Prison escapee sentenced
A prisoner who escaped just over a year ago pled guilty to three charges in court Monday.
James Sanders, of Ridgeville, received a sentence of five years for the escape charge but was given credit for the 526 days he's already served. He will now serve three-and-a-half years.
Sanders pled guilty to the escape charge along with a failure to stop for blue lights charge and the criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature (CDVHAN) charge that initially landed him behind bars.
The CDVHAN charge of 10 years was suspended to one year of service and five years probation, according to Ninth Judicial Circuit Deputy Solicitor Bryan A. Alfaro.
For the CDVHAN charge, Sanders' probation and year of service will be tolled, meaning it begins after his prison sentence for the escape ends.
Sanders escaped from Hill-Finklea Detention Center in Moncks Corner on Jan. 26, 2012 and was gone almost exactly a month before he was found and arrested in Myrtle Beach on March 1, 2012.
Following that arrest he attended a bond hearing in Moncks Corner where a woman told the court she was the victim in the case and said she was fearful of Sanders being released on any kind of bail.
“He is a flight risk and he wants me murdered,” she said. “He's done this several times before.”
Officials said they thought Sanders was being released when he simply walked out of the detention center to make his escape.
What he left behind was confusion, turmoil and a complete reshuffling of prisoner release procedures that resulted in disciplinary action against four Hill-Finklea Detention Center employees.
According to reports, on his wild ride at large Sanders hitched a ride to Charleston, hung out at MUSC Medical Center for at least two days, was spotted in Sangaree briefly before again eluding capture. He would eventually take up residence at the Grand Strand Regional Medical Center for two weeks.
In an audacious move, Sanders was apparently posing as “Kevin,” the brother of a comatose patient.
Sanders' luck turned sour and his plans began to unravel when the comatose patient woke up and real family members showed up at the Myrtle Beach facility, denying knowledge of any family member named Kevin.
The escaped fugitive received money, food and laundry services from hospital staff members, authorities said.