Jury acquits inmate: Hole in informant's story was bigger than hole in jail cell

News-DemocratSeptember 12, 2013 

A St. Clair County jury has acquitted an inmate of attempting to escape from the county's jail.

The jury on Wednesday found Joshua A. Baker, 28, of Central Point, Ore., not guilty of cutting a 5-inch hole in the ceiling of the jail in June in an attempt to escape.

Cathy Mac Elroy, Baker's lawyer, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Baker was originally arrested in March by Cahokia police after a traffic stop. Police discovered two children, a rolling meth lab and a loaded .45-caliber handgun. Baker pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and received a two-year prison sentence.

During the trial, testimony revealed that an informant told jail officials in June that Baker and another man cut a 5-inch hole in the ceiling of a cell and could be out of the jail within an hour. Jailers found a hole in the ceiling of the cell, but testimony revealed the hole was not in Baker's cell, according to testimony. The hole was also covered with a commissary receipt stained with coffee that belonged to the jailhouse informant.

At the time of his arrest, Baker was on parole in Pennsylvania and failed to report to his half-way house as required.

Baker will receive credit for time served in the county jail on the drug and weapons charges.

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at bhundsdorfer@bnd.com or 618-239-2570.

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