Authorities capture Gregg County inmate accused of carving way through jail

Updated: Dec. 27, 2019 at 10:31 AM CST
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GLADEWATER, TEXAS (KLTV) - Authorities have captured an inmate they say carved his way through a brick wall to escape the Gregg County Jail.

According to Lt. Josh Tubb with the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, authorities captured 34-year-old Jace Martin Laws, of Gladewater. He was reportedly captured on Dec. 27 in the Gladewater area.

The sheriff’s office reported his escape on Dec. 26. They say he carved out portions of the brick in the Gregg County South Jail, gaining access to the building infrastructure, and making his way to the exterior Gregg County Courthouse, the sheriff said.

“It’s been worthwhile, but it’s unfortunate everyone had to go through this incident,” said Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano.

According to Cerliano, Laws was first spotted at about 3:30 a.m. near the Gladewater airport. Cerliano said someone who knew him identified as he was attempting to rattle doors in an effort to get into buildings. Laws was seen an hour later at a cabin in the area.

Laws had shaved his hair and was wearing a black jogging suit when he was captured. When he escaped he had been wearing a white T-shirt and white shorts.

Cerliano said a perimeter was set around the cabin. However, Laws was still able to evade capture at the time.

“We were following his steps, 50 or 60 miles from here. And then he was able to get back here, so," Cerliano said. Laws was then later located and taken into custody with little to no resistance.

Laws will be arraigned at the Smith County courthouse on an escape charge and then immediately taken back to Gregg County.

Cerliano reported Laws was not a model inmate while at Gregg County Jail. He said they weren’t able to identify the particular method he used to escape until they discovered he was missing. Cerliano also reported they believe Laws had help with his escape.

“Obviously he had help getting around. That investigation remains current."

Laws was originally arrested in September 2018 on two charges of assault on a peace officer and evading arrest/detention. He reportedly had fought with police officers after a short pursuit in Longview.

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