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'Dangerous' Mississippi prison escapee captured in Georgia

Miss. Dept. Of Corrections via AP

Michael Blane Dowda, 48, of Harrison County, Miss.

Michael Dowda, the escaped inmate from the Mississippi State Penitentiary that officials described as "armed and dangerous," has been captured, prison officials said Tuesday.

Dowda, 48, who had been at large since Saturday was apprehended in Macon, Ga., nearly 500 miles away from the Mississippi state prison in Parchman, Miss.

Through investigations by the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and U.S. Marshals in Mississippi and Georgia, Dowda was captured at approximately 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, MDOC Spokesperson Tara Booth said in a statement.


Dowda now faces extradition to Mississippi and multiple charges including escape.

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While on maintenance detail, Dowda allegedly broke into a safe inside the home of a Department of Corrections employee on prison grounds and stole two handguns. He then fled the prison grounds driving a white 2005 Chevrolet Silverado truck that he also stole from the same employee.

The prison was placed on lockdown and closed to visitors after his escape.

Dowda is serving a life sentence for murdering his girlfriend, Clarissa Lynn Jarrett, during an argument on Nov. 13, 1996. After Jarrett said she had sex with other men, Dowda got a gun, put it to her head and pulled the trigger, the Associated Press reported. He later said he had removed the clip and thought the gun was unloaded, but authorities said one bullet was chambered.

He chose to be tried without a jury. A judge convicted him in December 1998, and he began serving his sentence at the state prison in January 1999. 

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There was no record of any previous escape attempt by Dowda from any Mississippi Department of Corrections facility.

The last escape at Parchman occurred in April 2008, officials said.  Inmate John Compton, who went missing during farming operations, was captured five days later by police in Texas.

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