Hampton Sheriff’s Department has yet to answer questions about inmate escape

Posted at 11:30 PM, Oct 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-06 02:18:51-04

NewsChannel 3 tried to get answers from the Hampton Sheriff's Department over an inmate escape, but they aren't talking.

Now we are finding out why accountability is so hard to come by.

An inmate escapes into downtown Hampton and heads don't roll?

The Hampton Sheriff's Department has yet to announce any firings or disciplinary actions of jailers at fault in the September 25th escape of Michael Stanback.

So NewsChannel 3 went to city council Friday to see what Hampton's elected representatives thought.

Members like Chris Stewart and Donnie Tuck told us the escape does raise serious questions, but they have no oversight authority on Sheriff B.J. Roberts to bring him to task because he is a constitutionally elected officer.

Even with the escapee himself calling his breakout from the Hampton city jail “a piece of cake."

Two days ago, Hampton Sheriff's deputies admitted for the first time that guards violated jail policy by failing to do proper headcounts, not noticing that Stanback was gone, and giving him more than a 3 hour head start.

But questions still remain over what other security measures failed.

We talked to John Lewis, one of the inmates now charged with helping Stanback escape.


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“There are cameras in that yard. There are two of them, so who was watching them, apparently no one if this guy was able to escape for that long,” says Lewis.

When NewsChannel 3 visited the Hampton Jail Thursday, someone was watching the surveillance cameras at that point, actually training the lens on us as we filmed.

If they are monitored, why didn't someone see the Stanback escape live through the feed?

NewsChannel 3 asked the Sheriff's Office for a response on camera, but they refused to even speak to us on the phone.

Through email, Lt. Alonzo Cherry said, "Not going to do an interview. The jailers' actions are an ongoing investigation and a personnel matter that we cannot speak on."

If you have questions and concerns over this inmate escape, take action and call the sheriff, he only answers to you, the voter.

The number is 757-926-2540 or 757-825-0266. You can also email him at or