TDCJ Guard Dead in Huntsville Prison Escape

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Two escapees from a prison unit in Huntsville were arrested Monday after a female guard was killed during an escape attempt.

Officials say the two inmates at the Wynne unit, were on work detail in a field just off of Interstate 45, when they were able to overpower a field correctional officer, take her weapons, and steal a nearby city vehicle.

"While fleeing the scene, they ran over the correctional officer killing her," Public Information Officer Jason Clark with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said. "She's been identified as 59 year-old Susan Canfield."

According to officials, the two suspects later ditched the city's vehicle for another vehicle stolen from the Guarantee Bank parking lot. That's when law enforcement was able to apprehend one of the suspects, 40 year old John Falk.

The other inmate, Jerry Martin fled into a heavily wooded area, leading authorities on a full out manhunt.

"We had a group of tracking dogs that came from the Wynne unit--where they escaped--that located him," Michelle Lyons with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said. "He was in an area just north of Smithers Road in Huntsville. "He was actually up in a tree when the dogs found him."

Prison officials say Martin was taken into custody a short time later without incident and was transported to the local police department where he will face a variety charges.

"At the very least, felony escape charges and certainly he would be charged in connection with the death of our correctional officer," Lyons said.

Falk was serving a life sentence for murder, while Martin was just ten years into a 50-year sentence for a variety of crimes including theft, aggravated assault and two counts of attempted capital murder.

"I can't remember the last time anything like this played out. You know sometimes we have escapees," Lyons said. "This obviously was a very unfortunate incident because we lost an officer."

Lyons says all inmates go through a screening process before being allowed to work outside, and that both men had clean disciplinary records at the unit -- until now.

In light of Monday's security breech, officials say they'll review their current system to see what, if any changes need to be made.

Canfield served as a correctional officer for seven years.


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