A man who escaped from law enforcement custody twice in Alcorn County has done it again while in custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Garnett Denzell Hughes, 33, received multiple life sentences in 2014 for kidnapping and sexual battery, including a sexual assault that occurred at Crossroads Regional Park. On Friday morning, he escaped from authorities during a private viewing of his mother at a funeral home in Belzoni, according to the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Department. Hughes had been incarcerated at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian.
The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Hughes’ arrest. He is described as 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 170 pounds.
Sheriff Ben Caldwell said he does not have any information indicating Hughes is in the local area or would return to Alcorn County, but he advised residents to be on the lookout and to contact the sheriff’s department if he is seen. Hughes is considered dangerous and should not be approached.
According to local officials, Hughes had a girlfriend in Corinth at the time of his crimes here, and his family is in the Belzoni area in the Mississippi Delta region.
Hughes was arrested in August 2013 at the scene of a rape at a Beechwood Circle residence in the West Hills Subdivision. DNA evidence would later lead to Hughes also being charged in connection with a rape that occurred 10 days earlier on the grounds of Crossroads Regional Park, where he held a couple at gunpoint.
Hughes entered Alford guilty pleas in 2014 on two indictments for sexual battery, thereby maintaining his innocence in those cases.
The park assault resulted in a six-count indictment against him, including two counts of kidnapping, two counts of sexual battery and two counts of armed robbery. The assault at Beechwood Circle resulted in a four-count indictment including burglary, two counts of sexual battery and armed robbery.
A third indictment stemming from his jail escape included two counts – jail escape and grand larceny.
In one of his local escapes, he overpowered a guard while being returned from exercise time and then unlocked the cell door of a double murder and arson suspect.
He waived indictment on a criminal information including two counts of simple assault on a police officer and one count of jail escape stemming from the second escape.