Family members charged following convict’s capture

EASLEY — After nearly two weeks on the loose, an inmate escaped from the Pickens County Stockade was arrested last week, and two relatives were charged with helping him evade capture.

7-23 Page 1A.inddAccording to a release from Pickens County Sheriff’s Office chief deputy Creed Hashe, deputies received an anonymous tip that James Christopher Townsend, 41, was at a home on Bakerville Road in Easley.

Officers arrested Townsend at the home at around 12:45 p.m. July 16.

Townsend had been held since June 2 at the stockade, located at 186 Prison Camp Road in Pickens, before he was discovered missing during a routine count at 7 p.m. on July 3.

Townsend, a convicted felon who has a lengthy criminal record for various types of crimes, was serving time for failure to pay child support and was eligible for release in December.

In addition to new charges for escape, Pickens County deputies were also notified by Greenville County authorities of a pending grand larceny charge against Townsend, but Hashe said Townsend will have to appear before Greenville authorities to answer for that charge at an undetermined time and date.

The day after Townsend’s arrest, sheriff’s office officials announced the arrests of his brother, Mitcheal Eugene Townsend, 51, and nephew, Gregory Scott Townsend, 30, both of 440 Bakerville Road in Easley.

Mitcheal and Gregory Townsend were each charged with harboring or employing an escaped convict. Arrest warrants allege the two knew Townsend was wanted by law enforcement and knowingly provided aid by giving him a place to stay.

At the time of Townsend’s escape from the stockade, Pickens County sheriff Rick Clark said he had “several ties to the community through family members and friends.”

“I would encourage anyone that has information concerning his disappearance to notify us immediately and to not be tempted to aid or facilitate this man’s escape in any manner,” he said. “I will not stand by and allow his poor judgment to place our citizens in harm’s way.”