Detention escapee to be arraigned

December 29, 2008 1:19:40 PM PST
A man who escaped a minimum-security San Mateo County detention facility two weeks into his one-year sentence will be arraigned Monday afternoon on a felony escape charge, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Charlie Johnson, 59, pleaded no contest in 2006 to possession of methamphetamine, Wagstaffe said. He was put on probation and sent to a drug rehabilitation program, where he violated probation three times.

The court then revoked Johnson's probation and sentenced him to one year in the San Mateo County Sheriff's Minimum Security Transitional Facility at 1580 Maple St., Wagstaffe said.

Two weeks into his term, Johnson was found to be missing during a routine security check shortly before 11 p.m. on Dec. 20.

Johnson surrendered himself to San Francisco detectives Friday afternoon and was booked into the San Mateo County main jail on no-bail status, Wagstaffe said.

He apparently told investigators he had left the detention facility because he was unable to reach his wife by phone and was concerned about her health, Wagstaffe said.

Charged with one count of felony escape without use of force or violence, Johnson could face up to three years in state prison.

Wagstaffe said an ideal outcome in the case would be a drug rehabilitation program rather than a lengthy prison sentence.

"We'd rather he gets into a good, strong drug treatment program, but it obviously can't be one where he can just walk away," Wagstaffe said.

Johnson is scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m. Monday in courtroom 4A of the San Mateo County Superior Court.


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