Preliminary hearings set for prisoner escape cases

Matthew Michael

FRONT ROYAL — A preliminary hearing has been set for the cases of three people who were allegedly involved in the escape of a prisoner from Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren  Regional Jail.

During a hearing on Tuesday, Judge Dale Houff scheduled a hearing date — 2 p.m. March 21 — for Matthew Perry Michael, Albert Byrd and Courtney Rose Barrett. Houff also assigned court-appointed attorneys for the defendants.

The charges for the three come after the Warren County Parks and Recreation Department notified RSW on Jan. 17 that Michael had escaped while he was on a work assignment at the Warren County Maintenance Shop.

On Thursday, officers found Michael, Byrd, Barrett and April Lyn McDaniel in a room at the Clarion Hotel in Winchester. Investigator Brad Pugh said that Michael answered the door when police knocked.

Once officers entered the room, they found illegal drugs and drug-related paraphernalia, according to a  criminal complaint.

Albert Byrd

McDaniel told an officer that she tossed a stem she used to smoke crack into the toilet. Police also found syringes in the room, the complaint states.

After entering the room, officers charged McDaniel with possession of a controlled substance and Barrett with unauthorized possession of drug paraphernalia. (According to a criminal complaint, Barrett gave an officer an incorrect last name and an incorrect year of birth.)

Those cases are all in Winchester. The preliminary hearings for those is scheduled for 1 p.m. June 20.

Barrett and Byrd were both charged in Warren County with three charges related to aiding the escape of a prisoner. Michael was charged with escaping jail and extortion in writing.

Michael, Barrett, Byrd and McDaniel are all being held without bail.

It is likely that more charges will come out of this case. Michael Fleming,  assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Warren County,  said during the hearing that “there are probably going to be possession charges on this also.”

Pugh also said on Friday that he expects more charges to be filed in the case.