Inmate turns himself in after walking off work detail Tuesday

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com
A Johnson City man gave himself up and was taken back into custody Tuesday night after he had walked off of a work detail in the Stoney Creek community of Carter County earlier that day.
Charlie Walter Mitchell, 28, 1713 Carter Ave., Johnson City, was arrested by Carter County Sheriff John Henson and charged with escape in the incident.
Mitchell had been on a work detail that was mowing a cemetery on Bulldog Hollow Road when he escaped. "He told the guard that he had to go to the bathroom and he walked into the woods to go to the bathroom and he just walked off," Henson said. "He walked down the road and caught a ride to the Pinecrest area and he called his girlfriend from there and she came and got him."
According to Henson, no charges have been placed at this time against Mitchell's girlfriend. "She assisted us in getting him back so I'm debating on whether to charge her or not," he said.
Henson and officers from his department began looking for Mitchell after he walked off from the work site just before noon. The search for the inmate spanned the county, beginning in Stoney Creek and ending in the Pinecrest community.
"He basically gave himself up," Henson said. "He called me and told me that he would meet me at his girlfriend's house so I went down and picked him up. He knew that we were looking for him and that we would eventually get him."
According to Henson, Mitchell was being held in the Carter County Jail for violating his probation, which is a misdemeanor offense. "We don't take felons out on the crews," Henson said. "We only use misdemeanors and short-timers on the work gangs."
Mitchell had already served nearly two-thirds of his sentence before he walked off of the work detail on Tuesday. "He had less than two months to pull on a 150 day sentence," Henson said. "He'll pull the rest of his time in lock down."
Henson said that incidents such as this one occur occasionally with inmates taken out on work details. "This is only the second one we've had in eight years so that's not a bad record," Henson said, adding that the work details do a lot of good work around the community mowing cemeteries, picking up litter and working on construction projects.