Walton inmate who escaped during Hurricane Sally work detail receives 15-year sentence
DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — An inmate who escaped from a Walton County Jail work crew clearing debris from Hurricane Sally will spend an additional 15 years behind bars.
State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden announced in a Wednesday news release that Clyde Merrill Hunter III, 32, was sentenced by Circuit Judge Kelvin Wells after a jury on Jan. 7 found Hunter guilty of escape.
Assistant State Attorney Matthew Richardson prosecuted the case
According to the news release, Hunter asked to use the restroom while cleaning up storm debris at a ball park in DeFuniak Springs on Sept. 17, 2020. He then fled from his work detail.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office and K-9 tracking teams from the Florida Department of Corrections searched for Hunter. After more than 10 hours, a bloodhound named Gypsy located him hiding in a cluster of palmetto bushes near Darby Lane northeast of DeFuniak Springs.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office stated in September that Hunter's escape might bring changes to the way inmates are chosen for work details.
Hunter has a long criminal history which dates back to 2017, including numerous burglary, auto theft and other charges in Walton County, according to court records.
A month before his escape, Hunter fled from deputies trying to serve a separate warrant on him.