King County Jail Escapee Captured In Las Vegas

Marvin R. Hunter, who used another inmate's identity to escape from the King County Jail in January, is back in custody.

Hunter, 22, was arrested yesterday in Las Vegas, according to Dick Thurston, a spokesman for the Seattle office of the FBI.

The arrest was made without resistance in the parking lot of a motel in the south end of Las Vegas at 3 p.m., said FBI agent Dan Kelsay. Hunter, who was registered in the motel, admitted his true name, Kelsay said.

Details of how long Hunter had been in Las Vegas and his activities there were not released.

Hunter is being held without bail in the Clark County, Nev., Jail and will be asked today if he will waive extradition proceedings or require King County officials to begin the lengthy procedure for his return.

Hunter, considered a danger to the community by King County jail officials, was being held on $250,000 bail when he escaped Jan. 10 by exchanging identity bracelets with another inmate and fooled guards into releasing him.

He was awaiting trial on first-degree rape and robbery charges at the time.

Ray Coleman, associate director of the King County Detention Center, admitted that human error was involved in Hunter's release. After an investigation, two jailers were given retraining on release of inmates, but they were not disciplined for what jail officials called an honest but serious mistake.

Coleman pointed out at the time that jailers last year released

55,000 prisoners without a mistake. A photo-identification system that could have prevented Hunter's release is being installed in the jail, officials said.

Hunter changed identities with James C. Little, an inmate who was awaiting trial on drug charges, officials said. On the day of the escape, the men changed cells and ID bracelets, and Hunter used Little's Social Security number and had apparently practiced Little's signature, Coleman said.

Little later was charged with second-degree escape, but those charges were dropped when it couldn't be determined that Little knew Hunter had taken his ID bracelet. The bracelets often are taken off by prisoners and left around the jail.

Hunter and another man were arrested originally after a robbery and the rape of a woman at a Kent trailer park Dec. 4.