Manhunt in downtown Washington

Published 7:52 pm Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gregory Midgette Jr.

Gregory Midgette Jr.


A man sentenced to prison took one last look at freedom when he escaped the custody of Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies after sentencing.

According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, the escape happened at the Beaufort Count Courthouse in downtown Washington at around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. Gregory Roosevelt Midgette Jr., 26, of Antler Lane, Washington, had just been sentenced to 17 to 33 months in the Department of Corrections prison system for a 2012 drug charge, when he evaded his two escorts — a sheriff’s office deputy and a detention officer, according to Maj. Kenneth Watson, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.

Because he’d been out on bond prior to sentencing, Midgette was dressed in civilian clothes as he fled on foot before officers could apply the restraints used for transporting prisoners. Deputies chased Midgette from an office beside the courtroom, into the public hallway and down the steep courthouse stairwell, but lost sight of him when he exited the building, the release said.

“He did not assault anyone, however, a detention officer fell down the stairs during the pursuit and received minor injuries,” Watson said.

The manhunt only lasted about 15 minutes but drew 15 deputies, Washington Police Department officers and North Carolina State Highway Patrol troopers to the area to assist in the search, Watson said.

Deputies found Midgette hiding in a dumpster across from the Washington Police Department on Third Street.

Watson said it’s not the first time an escape has been conducted in this fashion.
“It usually happens the same way — they may get off the property but it’s not long before we have them back in custody,” he explained.

Watson said the last time a courthouse escape happened was about five years ago.

Midgette was charged with felony escape from a local jail/officer and resisting a public officer, given a $100,000 secured bond, then taken to the DOC to begin serving his sentence, said the release. He was originally charged with manufacture/sell/deliver/possess a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of childcare center/school.