WILMINGTON — There’s physical evidence that the bank robber who slipped loose of police custody at CMH later planned a second escape attempt — with a potentially deadly instrument he contrived in jail.
John Dean McKinney Jr., 41, of Wilmington, was sentenced earlier this month to an eight-year prison term on convictions for robbery, escape, burglary, and breaking-and-entering.
In late October, Clinton County Chief Deputy and Colonel Brian Prickett received information regarding McKinney, an inmate at the Clinton County Jail, having a “shiv”. A shiv is a slang word for any sharp-edged or pointed implement that can be used as a knife-like weapon.
The information also included that McKinney was intending to put the shiv to use on a deputy during a transport to court so he then could escape.
As a result of the information, multiple detectives and corrections officers responded to the jail’s “D Pod” where all inmates were ordered to their cells and locked down.
McKinney was removed from his cell and a search of it was conducted, according to an incident report compiled by the sheriff’s office. Underneath a sheet on top of the cell’s desk was “a sturdy piece of metal with a sharpened point,” stated Sgt. Douglas Eastes.
Further, officers noticed an area on the concrete wall where McKinney is believed to have sharpened the piece of metal into a weapon, according to Eastes.
Upon examining the pointed object, law enforcement determined it appeared to be a piece of metal broken off a dust mop. Earlier in October, corrections officers had noticed a piece of metal was broken off a dust mop in the jail. An approximately eight-inch long piece was missing along the outside body — a reusable mop head attaches to the piece of metal, wrote Eastes.
A small lighter was discovered in McKinney’s cell, too, Eastes reported.
According to a corrections officer, McKinney said the shank (another term for shiv) and lighter found in his cell were not his, and that he was holding them for someone.
The incident report also states that when McKinney walked out of his cell prior to the search, a detective observed an item drop from McKinney. The detective wrote that after examining the item, it appeared to be an ink pen point wrapped in a playing card.
That item was collected as contraband, continues the report.
As reported in the News Journal this month, according to court papers, prosecutors promised as part of a plea agreement with McKinney not to pursue a charge “for any additional conduct that may have occurred when the defendant [McKinney] was incarcerated at the Clinton County Jail.” He had been charged in connection with allegedly intimidating a corrections officer on Sept. 23.
McKinney was indicted on a count of felony intimidation related to that alleged incident, but the charge was dropped as part of the plea agreement that saw McKinney plead guilty to four other charges.
McKinney robbed First Financial Bank on Fife Avenue in Wilmington on Aug. 30, making off with $2,400. The next day, McKinney was found hiding in a garage on Applegate Street in Wilmington.
Then on Sept. 4, McKinney broke away from the custody of law enforcement while he was at Clinton Memorial Hospital. On the run, he entered a nearby Peterson Place home while a person was there. McKinney took a shirt at the house, apparently looking for a different look from his jail outfit or hospital gown.
When loose, he reportedly took a 2003 Lincoln LS vehicle that later was recovered in Wilmington while McKinney remained at-large. But he found himself back in police custody by the late afternoon of Sept. 6 when he was located in a shed near High and Columbus Streets in Wilmington.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.