CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) - A judge is blaming herself for an inmate escaping from court this week in a town that's become known for inmates escaping.
"I offer no excuses for what happened as there is no excuse," Clovis Municipal Court Judge Jan Garrett said in a statement. "It should not have happened, and it did."
The manhunt began for Ruben Hernandez, 40, began on Tuesday. He'd been in jail on robbery and gun charges.
He escaped from custody at the Municipal Court, ran to a nearby house and changed clothes.
"We locked our doors," said Clovis resident Kelly Peais.
Peias lives across the street from the home where police found Hernandez hiding yesterday.
"We saw a white Yukon, an officer standing right here. A gentleman right there, another cop and another unmarked car, so we knew something was up," said Peais.
Clovis police initially warned people Hernandez could be armed with an SKS semi-automatic rifle. When they arrested him he wasn't armed.
But many want to know how he escaped in the first place.
Garrett told KRQE News 13 the prisoners that come to Municipal Court always wear handcuffs and shackles, but Hernandez was in a wheelchair wearing neither.
According to Garrett, Hernandez claimed he had a medical issue that kept him from walking.
She said Hernandez was sitting in the courtroom for about 30 minutes before he got up and bolted out the door.
"I cannot undo what happened," the judge continued. "At this point I can only thank God that no one was hurt and nothing like this happens in the future.
Garrett said she's been there for 11 years and has never had an incident with a inmate.
"From now on all inmates will be shackled and cuffed in court," she said.
Clovis police still haven't said if Hernandez knew the people inside the house where he was found.
The case remains under investigation.
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