Jail Escapees Get Maximum Sentence

ELIZABETH—Two men who broke out of Union County Jail in December 2007 received the maximum sentence for their crime on Friday.

Otis Blunt and Jose Espinosa each received five years in prison for third degree escape. Both men received more than a year’s credit for time served.
Espinosa’s sentence was tacked on to a 17-year term he’s serving for aggravated manslaughter; Blunt was acquitted of the robbery charge for which he’d been jailed.

The men fled on Dec. 14, 2007 by squeezing through a hole they had dug through a cinder block cell wall. They concealed the hole with a pinup photo, which drew comparisons with the 1994 Stephen King movie, “The Shawshank Redemption.”

They left a taunting note that named a corrections officer, who later committed suicide. The pair exited onto a third-floor rooftop, then leaped over a 25-foot-high fence topped with razor wire. The inmates had piled sheets under their blankets to make it appear they were sleeping, and guards didn’t raise an alarm until 5 p.m. on Dec. 15.

Espinosa was found on Jan. 8, 2008 in a basement apartment near the jail. Blunt was arrested the next day at a cheap hotel in Mexico City.

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