Bystanders describe a prisoner's violent escape from a Detroit courthouse after he stabbed a deputy, stole the officer's uniform and keys and carjacked a woman. WDIV's Lauren Podell reports.
An “armed and dangerous” inmate who stabbed a sheriff’s deputy with a blade fashioned from a comb before escaping from a Detroit courthouse was caught after 13-hour manhunt, police said late Monday.
Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon confirmed Abraham Pearson's arrest with a post on Twitter. He was found walking along the I-94 by Detroit Police.
We apprehended escaped prisoner Abraham Pearson. Cooperative effort of Wayne County Sheriff's Office, Detroit Police, MSP & US Border Patrol— Benny Napoleon (@BennyNapoleon) September 10, 2013
Pearson, 25, had earlier stabbed unarmed sheriff's deputy Harrison Tolliver, 63, in the neck with the homemade weapon at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, according to officials.
"He used a comb that had been fashioned into a shank to overcome the deputy, stabbed him several times in the neck," Napoleon said. "After he stabbed the deputy, he took the deputy’s clothing, he took his keys, he got on the prisoner elevator and he escaped from the building."
The Detroit News reported that Tolliver is a retired police officer. He was working alone and attempting to place Pearson in a cell along with two other prisoners at the time of the attack, officials said.
Tolliver had un-cuffed Pearson, who was set to be sentenced for carjacking and robbery, when he struck, puncturing his neck several times, according to authorities.
After changing out of his prison threads and into Tolliver’s uniform, Pearson allegedly walked out of the courthouse.
Tolliver managed to raise the alarm using a courthouse phone, but by that point Pearson had left the building.
Pearson carjacked a woman outside the old Detroit police headquarters, according to officials.
"The woman was screaming, 'Help! Help! He's got my car! Help," a witness told NBC station WDIV.
He then took off in the 2000 gray Dodge Voyager, that police later found abandoned along with Tolliver's uniform.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig had called Pearson "armed and dangerous."
More than 13 hours after escaping, officers spotted Pearson walking along the I-94 and he was arrested at around 10 p.m.
In September 2012, Pearson was arrested on carjacking, armed robbery and weapons charges and convicted in a non-jury trial, prison officials said.
He was due to be sentenced for those crimes when he bolted.
His lawyer, James Howarth, had earlier told NBC News that he believes Pearson wanted to mount an insanity defense, but two psychiatrists found him competent.
"In my initial conversation with him, he had no knowledge of the incident and talked about hallucinations," he said. "He appeared not to be in any touch with reality whatsoever."
Howarth said Pearson was offered a plea deal that would have given him the minimum sentence of nine years but turned it down. After being convicted, he was likely facing 15 years.
"I imagine it weighed pretty heavily on his head," Howarth said.
NBC News' Lori Brusehaver and Tracy Connor contributed to this report.
This story was originally published on Tue Sep 10, 2013 5:33 AM EDT