Idaho inmate who escaped from hospital in violent ambush pleads guilty

Skylar Meade went on the run while undergoing medical treatment for self-inflicted wounds at a hospital in Boise

Graig Graziosi,Graeme Massie
Thursday 16 May 2024 02:31
Related video: Prison break, shooting suspects arraigned in 4th District Court

An inmate who escaped custody in Idaho following a "brazen, violent" prison break has pleaded guilty during a court appearance.

Skylar Meade went on the run while undergoing medical treatment for self-inflicted wounds at a hospital in Boise. He was eventually re-captured after a 36-hour manhunt.

Three law enforcement officers were shot and wounded during the violent escape.

Meade entered a guilty plea to charges of prison escape and persistent violator in an Ada County courtroom on Wednesday, reported KTVB7.

The 31-year-old inmate was serving a 20-year sentence for shooting at a sheriff during a high-speed chase. He had been transferred to the Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center for treatment after he engaged in "self-injurious behaviour," according to Josh Tewalt, the director of the Idaho Department of Corrections.

As officials were preparing to transport him back to prison, an armed accomplice, Nicholas Umphenour, allegedly began firing at the corrections officers.

Two corrections officers were wounded by the gunman during Meade's break-out. One of the officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries while the second was in critical but stable condition on the day of the shooting.

Meade and Umphenour were eventually found and taken into custody in Twin Falls County following a short car chase.

This photo combo provided by Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office in Idaho shows from left, Nicholas Umphenour and Skylar Meade (AP)

A third suspect, Tonia Huber, 52, was arrested on 21 March on charges of eluding authorities, as well as possession of a controlled substance.

Tia Garcia, 27, of Twin Falls was then later arrested and is facing a felony charge of aiding and abetting for her alleged involvement in planning Meade’s escape.

Idaho State Police have said Meade and Umphenour are also being investigated for potential involvement in two homicides in northern Idaho, one in Clearwater County and one in Nez Perce County.

Both homicides involved adult men.

Officials have told reporters that both Meade and Umphenour had common acquaintances in prison and were members of the white supremacist Aryan Knights group.

Meade and Umphenour reportedly had spent some time imprisoned together in December 2022. Umphenour was released in January 2024. Both had been housed at the Idaho maximum security prison

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