Courts & Crime

Georgia inmate breaks out of jail using rubber flip-flop

The inmate who escaped from the Bibb County jail Saturday night used his rubber flip-flop to unlock the door to a cell he was sharing with four other people, according to the Bibb County Sheriff's Office.

Deante Gholston, 20, was recaptured early Sunday morning and is being held at the Bibb County jail on a new charge of escape and his original charge of armed robbery. His bond is $47,800, according to jail records.

Sheriff Jerry Modena cites a staffing shortage, overcrowding and a defective lock as the reasons why Gholston was able to escape from a locked cell.

At 7:30 p.m. when Gholston escaped, Modena said the jail was within one or two people of its 966-inmate capacity. To alleviate crowding in the general population, five people had been moved to a cell located adjacent to the sally port, an area where deputies unload newly arrested people from their cars and take them into the jail.

The cell typically is used as a place where deputies can quickly separate prisoners if a fight breaks out in the area. It’s not designed for housing inmates for long periods of time, he said.

Modena said jailers made a mistake in putting Gholston in the cell. They should have moved inmates accused of misdemeanors and non-violent offenses into the cell.

"He should not have been in there," Modena said of Gholston, who is accused of robbing Golden Beauty Supply, 2525 Pio Nono Ave. Suite D, on March 10.

"We were understaffed," he said, explaining the jail was operating with between six and eight fewer employees than needed at the time. The sheriff’s office has 15 vacant positions in the jail and nine jailers are serving in the military.