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Murderer and Accused Killer Escape from Jail

March 29, 1995

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ A convicted murderer and a teen-ager accused of killing a prep football player escaped from jail by climbing down a bedsheet rope and cutting their way out with a blowtorch, authorities say.

Daniel Mitchem, 20, and Sebastian Eccleston, 18, escaped Tuesday from the Bernalillo County Detention Center, where they had been housed in a unit that prisoners dubbed the ``God Pod″ because it is used for prayer and religious services, officials said.

Jail director John Dantis said Mitchem and Eccleston got into an air duct from a utility room in their housing area, then used a rope braided from sheets to lower themselves to a second-floor mechanical area.

The two then broke into a metal tool cabinet and used a torch and other tools to make their way through a ventilation duct leading outside, Dantis said.

Mitchem was sentenced this month to 36 years in prison on second-degree murder and other charges. He had been awaiting transfer to state prison.

Eccleston was being held on charges stemming from the shooting of 18-year-old Rickey Comingo. Police say he fired six shots at Comingo with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun after a near traffic collision.

Eccleston, a gang member with an extensive criminal record, had escaped in October from a youth detention center in Albuquerque by scaling a 10-foot barbed wire fence.

He was recaptured in December after leading sheriff’s deputies on a 115-mph chase and wrecking a stolen van loaded with firearms.

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