Two inmates facing serious crimes bought themselves two hours of freedom after escaping Saturday from Greene County Prison.
State police located homicide suspect Jason W. Roe, 33, of Daisytown, and Rocco J. Iacovone, 27, who is charged in a Washington County armed robbery, about 2:30 p.m. at a coal mine about a quarter mile from the prison and charged them with escape, warden Harry D. Gillispie said.
Gillispie said employees at the Franklin Township facility witnessed the inmates flee into woods wearing green and white stripped prison-issued uniforms about 12:30 p.m. He said he believes he knows how they escaped, but didn’t want to release that information Saturday.
“Obviously, there was a breakdown somewhere,” he said.
The prison will conduct an internal investigation into the escape and possibly make policy and procedural changes based on its outcome. It’s the first time since 1996 that an inmate escaped from the prison at 855 Rolling Meadows Road.
The inmates were taken into custody at Emerald Mine No. 1 on Garards Fort Road, and no one was injured, Gillispie said. Iacovone has been transferred to the Washington County jail on $100,000 bond set by District Judge Lee Watson, the docket shows. Watson returned Roe to the jail in Greene County, court records show.
Roe and his wife, Lana, are awaiting trial in the Aug. 14 slaying of Cordele E. Patterson, 38, of Grindstone. State police allege Lana Roe, 40, lured Patterson to a remote hunting cabin near Spraggs where her husband shot him several times with a shotgun, having believed the homicide victim had stolen items from the couple.
Iacovone, of East Washington, pleaded guilty last month and is awaiting sentencing for fleeing and eluding police and reckless endangerment in connection with a Feb. 13 police chase on Interstate 79 after he allegedly robbed a convenience store clerk in West Virginia. Gillispie said Iacovone will be transferred after sentencing to the Washington County jail to face charges filed by South Strabane Township police.
South Strabane police arrested Iacovone on accusations he robbed a clerk of cigarettes and money at a BP station on Racetrack Road at gunpoint Feb. 11. He faces additional robbery charges in West Virginia, Gillispie said.