7 people charged with aiding Florida murder suspect escape

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Two more alleged accomplices have been arrested for playing roles in the escape from a crowded Florida courtroom last week of a murder suspect who has been re-arrested, bringing the total implicated in the plot to seven people, authorities said Thursday.

Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest reports identify the latest pair as Francine Mesadieu, 31, and 18-year-old Paige Jackson. Investigators say Mesadieu provided Dayonte Resiles with a wig, clothes and colored contact lenses to disguise himself and Jackson helped plot the escape through jail phone calls.

Resiles, 21, was captured without incident late Wednesday at a Days Inn in West Palm Beach, Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters. Resiles, who was alone, obeyed orders from a SWAT team to surrender, Israel said.

“He came out of the room. He surrendered without incident. He laid on the ground, he allowed us to handcuff him. No force was necessary,” Israel said.

There probably will be people eligible for the $50,000 reward that had been offered for information leading to his capture, Israel added.

Resiles was scheduled to appear in bond court Thursday afternoon on charges stemming from the escape. He was already being held without bail on the murder charge.

Resiles got out of his shackles, bolted out of a courtroom in the downtown Broward County Courthouse last Friday as he was awaiting a hearing. Resiles ran down several flights of stairs and got away with help from at least seven accomplices, authorities said.

Resiles is accused in the 2014 stabbing death of 59-year-old Jill Halliburton Su, whose family founded the Halliburton oil services company. Her body was found, bound at the hands and feet and stabbed multiple times, in the bathtub of her home in Davie, Florida, according to a police report.

Prosecutors say Resiles killed Su during an attempted burglary, and they filed papers earlier this year saying they planned to seek the death penalty. Resiles has pleaded not guilty; the hearing last week concerned whether the death penalty would apply to his case.

Investigators said Friday’s escape was carefully planned.

Jackson, one of the two charged Thursday, used a three-way calling technique to allow Resiles to communicate with others from jail using calls placed through her cellphone, according to the arrest report. Jail records show Resiles made at least 15 calls to Jackson’s number, many of them to others implicated in the escape plot.

“During the three-way telephone calls facilitated by Jackson, Resiles and his accomplices meticulously planned the escape,” the arrest report says.

Resiles was sitting in the jury box when he slipped out of his shackles, jumped a courtroom barrier and ran past unarmed bailiffs. A car was waiting near the courthouse with a change of clothes, authorities say.

Among the other alleged accomplices is fellow jail inmate Walter M. Hart III, 22. Courthouse video shows Hart, who is awaiting trial in a separate 2014 murder case, “work in concert with Resiles to begin to defeat the shackling system used to secure inmates,” according to an arrest report released Wednesday.

With his back to the camera, the report says Hart “holds up the waist chain, which allows Resiles to begin manipulating the restraints,” leading to his escape moments later.

Also charged are Resiles’ 18-year-old girlfriend, LaQuay Stern, who authorities say was waiting outside in the car, and five others.

Israel has said armed deputies, rather than unarmed bailiffs, will now accompany maximum-security inmates in the courtroom. The sheriff has promised an investigation into the circumstances of the escape.

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