Felix Trujillo, inmate, says deputy who helped him escape thought (wrongly) he'd get $500K
Update: The tale of Felix Trujillo's escape from Denver jail last month, and deputy Matthew Andrews's alleged role in helping him do so, was already plenty weird. But it just got a whole lot stranger.
Trujillo now says the escape plan came from Andrews, based on the mistaken notion that the inmate would pay him $500,000 for his help.
And where did he supposedly get this idea? From Trujillo's Facebook page.
It's important to note at the outset that thus far, there's no proof any of this actually happened, and Andrews, who claims he aided in the escape because his family had been threatened, isn't responding to the claims. But true or not, there's no denying it's a helluva yarn.
CBS4's Brian Maass is the reporter to whom Trujillo spoke. The re-jailed inmate says that over the course of the nine months he'd been in stir, Andrews mentioned his dire financial situation on numerous occasions -- and it slowly became clear that the deputy thought Trujillo was rich due to posts on his Facebook page, which identifies him (irony alert) as "Honest Trujillo." Here's one of the photos on the page....
Now, all of us (except, in Trujillo's telling, Andrews) know that just because a person shares a photo of something really expensive on Facebook doesn't mean he actually owns it. But Trujillo suggests that he played up the deputy's delusion, arranging for him to smuggle in a cellphone and charger in exchange for The Price Is Right-style package of movie passes, a washer and dryer, and $1,500 in cash.
Not that he actually received all these prizes: Trujillo insists the only things he forked over in exchange for the phone were the movie passes, plus tickets to Elitch's.
Next, Trujillo maintains that Andrews came to him and offered to facilitate his escape in exchange for $500,000. Trujillo agreed and gave him a number said to be for his brother, who was going to coordinate things with Andrews. Instead, though, Trujillo says the digits connected to his own phone -- the one Andrews brought him.
"He was pretty dumb," he allows.
Continue for more about Felix Trujillo's charges against Deputy Matthew Andrews, including more photos and a video. During the planning process, Trujillo, masquerading as his brother, texted Andrews photos showing bags of money. Here's how CBS4 depicts them in its coverage:
According to Trujillo, Andrews rushed to show the pics to Trujillo after receiving them, saying that he knew they were real.
The actual source of the money-bag shots? Google Images, Trujillo swears.
When the time came for the actual escape, Trujillo says Andrews brought him a deputy's uniform -- an action that stunned the former's fellow jailees. "The inmates are looking at me like what the hell is going on? I'm going with the flow, you know," he said.
Shortly after making their way out of the facility, Andrews and Trujillo drove off, with the deputy supposedly urging the inmate to shoot him in the leg to make the escape look more real. As Trujillo tells it, he passed up this offer. "I'm like, I ain't shooting no cop," he says. "I was like, 'No, we don't need to do none of that.' This guy thinks he's in a movie. If I shoot a deputy in the leg and escape from jail they're going to want to kill me."
Before long, the pair arrived at an apartment in Thornton; it was supposed to be Trujillo's brother's place, but the building was actually one where Trujillo had lived years earlier. After Trujillo went inside, Andrews allegedly sat in his car for over an hour waiting to get paid, not realizing that Trujillo had slipped out the back door and taken off. Finally, Trujillo says he responded to one of the deputy's plaintive texts with the words "Deal's off," then broke the phone.
It remains to be seen whether the text trail Trujillo describes can be reconstructed without the device itself, or if the entire narrative is revealed to be bullshit -- albeit hilarious bullshit.
Here's the CBS4 report, followed by our previous coverage of this bizarre incident.
Update, 5:59 a.m. April 11: Felix Trujillo, the first-ever escapee from Denver's new jail, slipped away in a deputy's jacket and alleged help from law-enforcer Matthew Andrews; see our previous coverage below.
Now, following the arrest of another accused accomplice, 47-year-old Marilyn Reeves, Trujillo has surrendered to authorities. But plenty of questions remain, with perhaps the largest of them being whether or not Andrews was told that his family would be hurt if he didn't help bust the prisoner out of stir.
As we've reported, Trujillo is said to have escaped around 7 p.m. on Sunday evening. Initial reports suggested that he might be in possession of a deputy's jacket, but a Denver Sheriff's Office alert several hours later made no mention of that possibility. Then, the next day, the Denver Police Department announced that Andrews, a two-year veteran of the sheriff's office, was accused of aiding in Trujillo's flight; he'd actually been in custody since the night before.
The Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center is Denver's new prisoner intake facility.
By the next day, an explanation for Andrews's seemingly inexplicable actions came from his attorney, Donald Sisson. He told outlets like CBS4 that the day before the escape, a driver pulled up alongside the deputy, pointed a gun at him and said he needed to spring Trujillo "or his life or his family's life would be in jeopardy.
Sources tell CBS4 he not only managed to sneak Trujillo out of jail, but also drove him to an area north of Denver and dropped him off.
With this story circulating, the DPD's next announcement -- about the arrest of Marilyn Reeves on suspicion of aiding an escape -- had something of a defensive air about it. Accompanying the mug shot of Reeves seen here....
...was the text from the aiding escape statute. It describes an offender like so:
(1) Any person who knowingly aids, abets, or assists another person to escape or attempt to escape from custody or confinement commits the offense of aiding escape.
(2) "Escape" is deemed to be a continuing activity commencing with the conception of the design to escape and continuing until the escapee is returned to custody or the attempt to escape is thwarted or abandoned.
(3) "Assist" includes any activity characterized as "rendering assistance" in section 18-8-105.
(4) Aiding escape is a class 2 felony if the person aided was in custody or confinement as a result of conviction of a class 1 or class 2 felony.
(5) Aiding escape is a class 3 felony if the person aided was in custody or confinement and charged with or held for any felony or convicted of any felony other than a class 1 or class 2 felony.
(6) Aiding escape is a class 1 misdemeanor if the person aided was in custody or confinement and charged with, held for, or convicted of a misdemeanor or a petty offense.
Felix Trujillo in police custody.
Then, around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon, Trujillo gave himself up to police near 52nd and Federal. According to 7News, this exchange took place about an hour and a half after an intermediary called the cops and arranged the surrender.
If Trujillo or his associates did indeed conspire to threaten Andrews, more arrests, and more charges, could be coming. Clearly, this case isn't over yet, and neither do we have all the answers. In the meantime, look below to see a 7News report, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 11:30 a.m. April 8: Earlier today, we told you about the escape last night from Denver jail of Felix Trujillo -- and shared initial reports that he might have gotten away by wearing a deputy's jacket.
Now, we know why this last piece of information -- which was left out of a subsequent release from the Denver Sheriff's Office -- was so key. Matthew Andrews, a Denver deputy, has been busted on suspicion of aiding Trujillo's escape. More details below.
A short time ago, a press conference was held on the subject of Andrews's arrest. See video below courtesy of CBS4.
Denver Police Department Lieutenant Matt Murray at today's press conference.
As noted by the Denver Post, Andrews is a two-year veteran of the department, and if he's had past performance or disciplinary issues, they've yet to be made public.
But concern about his possible complicity in the Trujillo escape arose quickly. He's been in custody since last night.
As for Trujillo, he's still at large right now, and authorities stress that while he presumably has possession of Andrews's jacket, he isn't packing his firearm or radio.
Here's the complete news conference, followed by a larger look at Andrews's mug shot and our previous coverage.
Continue for our original coverage, including photos and video. Original post, 8:50 a.m. April 8: At this point, there are more questions than answers about the escape from Denver jail of 24-year-old Frank Trujillo -- including whether or not a man with very prominent tattoos that reach up his neck managed to slip away disguised as a deputy.
But this much is certain: The Denver Police Department considers Trujillo a threat to the community and has made finding him a top priority.
Here's a tweet from the DPD announcing the escape and subsequent search.
BREAKING: DPD is looking for escapee-24 yr old Felix Dino Trujillo. He escaped from the City Jail at 7PM. He's considered very dangerous.
— Denver Police Dept (@DenverPolice) April 8, 2013
How did Trujillo manage to slip away? According to 7News, the initial BOLO on Trujillo suggested that he might have been wearing a deputy's jacket. But this possibility wasn't mentioned in a release about his escape, issued around 10 p.m. last night, a full three hours after he was said to have been discovered missing.
Trujillo, who's about five-feet-six-inches tall and weighs approximately 140 pounds, has pulled this trick before. The station notes that his arrest record includes escape, as well as felony menacing, domestic violence and assault, with most of the alleged offenses taking place in or near Thornton, Westminster and Adams County.
He was being held in Denver on suspicion of aggravated robbery, and he may be armed. If you see him or know his whereabouts, phone 720-913-2000 or 911, if it's an emergency situation.
Look below to see a recent Trujillo booking photo, as well as the aforementioned 7News report:
More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "George Bradshaw and fellow schmucks flee jail for prison capital of the U.S."