An inmate who escaped from the Gregg County Jail after being convicted on two counts of assaulting a police officer and while awaiting trial on a third charge was transferred Monday to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
By late morning, Jace Martin Laws of Longview was booked into the Byrd Unit in Huntsville, Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano said.
“Obviously, I’m glad that once we took him back into custody, we were able to house him without incident, then get the paperwork completed and pushed through to get him transferred so he can begin serving his sentence,” he said.
Laws was recaptured Dec. 27, four days after his escape. On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to new charges related to his escape, which added eight years to the term he was set to serve on the assault charges. He also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight years on a charge of evading arrest or detention with a motor vehicle stemming from a September 2018 incident.
In October, Laws was found guilty on two counts of assault of a peace officer. He received 40 years for one charge and 30 years for the other. The sentences were set to run concurrently — or at the same time.
Cerliano said Laws will serve 40 years for the assault charges, then the eight-year sentences added last week will begin.
“It will be a long time before you have to worry about him again,” Cerliano said.
At the time of his escape, Laws had served 467 days, the sheriff said, and his prison time will be reduced by that time.
Cerliano credited courthouse teamwork for getting the charges completed and the prisoner transferred quickly.
“It was a cooperative effort with the District Attorney’s Office, the district clerk and the court to be able to get all the ... paperwork, along with the judgment, put together in a rapid time frame,” he said. “He pled at 1 on Thursday, paperwork went to TDCJ Friday, and we got the movement order.”
The process usually can take weeks, Cerliano said.
Laws left the Gregg County Jail about 7:30 a.m.
The transfer was handled by Cpls. Mark Polk and Michael Nolan from the sheriff’s warrant division. They reported to Cerliano that Laws was in state custody about 11 a.m. Monday.
Laws’ recapture came after his father said he spotted him near his home, which is on the same land as Laws Collision Repair on U.S. 271 west of Gladewater.
He had escaped by carving out portions of the South Jail in the Gregg County Courthouse on Methvin Street — gaining access to the building’s infrastructure — and made his way to the exterior of the courthouse, the sheriff’s office said.