A recently recaptured inmate who escaped from Gregg County Jail has entered a guilty plea on two counts related to his getaway.
On Dec. 23, 2019, inmate Jace Martin Laws, age 34, of Gladewater carved out portions of the brick in the Gregg County South Jail, gaining access to the building infrastructure, and making his way to the exterior Gregg County Courthouse.
According to a press release from Gregg County Criminal District Attorney Tom B. Watson, Laws had previously been convicted on two counts of assault of a peace officer on Oct. 23, 2019. He was sentenced to 40 years on the first count and 30 years on the second. Additionally, Laws was under indictment for the separate offense of evading arrest or detention with a motor wehicle, a third degree felony. He was being housed in the South Jail Facility at the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office awaiting trial for the evading arrest charge.
His trial was set for Jan. 21, 2020 but Laws managed to escape from Gregg County Jail on Dec. 23.
After a coordinated effort by Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, local police, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, and the U.S. Marshall’s Service Tyler Task Force, Laws was recaptured without incident on the morning of Friday, Dec. 27, near a repair shop owned by his family in Gladewater.
On Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, Laws entered a guilty plea to the offenses of escape while arrested or confined and evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle in the 188th Judicial District Court of Gregg County with the Honorable Scott Novy presiding.
According to Watson, Laws was sentenced to 8 years for escape and 8 years for evading arrest. These sentences will be stacked on top of his prior sentences of 40 years and 30 years. Laws will have to serve his prison sentences for both counts of assault of a peace officer before the new sentences for escape and evading arrest begin.