Former Polunsky Unit inmate involved in
Huntsville prison break
Polk County Enterprise, October 2007
LIVINGSTON – Two months ago, Jerry Duane Martin, one of two inmates involved in a deadly prison escape in Huntsville Monday, was serving his 50-year sentence for attempted murder in Livingston’s Polunsky Unit.
Martin, 37, was transferred to the Wynne Unit in Walker County on July 17, following an alleged sexual encounter with a prison nurse at Polunsky, according to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman.
The nurse no longer works at the prison and the matter is under investigation. As a result of that incident, TDCJ had revoked the 30 days of “good time” – credit earned for good behavior – that Martin had accrued.
In the wake of Monday’s escape, during which a correctional officer was killed, Martin and fellow inmate John Ray Falk face a lengthy list of charges, including capital murder. Exact charges that will be presented to a grand jury are being determined by Walker County Criminal District Attorney David Weeks, who is working with the Special Prison Prosecution Unit.
Martin and Falk were captured within hours of their escape.
The two inmates were among 76 convicts assigned to a work detail outside of the Wynne Unit Monday morning. At approximately 10:10 a.m., one of the inmates approached a male guard who was on horseback and asked him to hold a watch, Michelle Lyons, TDCJ director of public information, told reporters. The convict grabbed the guard and 59-year-old Susan Canfield, came to assist. Weapons were taken from both officers.
Falk and Martin ran to a nearby city building and fled in a work truck. The truck struck Canfield‘s horse as the officer attempted to stop the convicts. Canfield, who had worked nearly eight years as a correctional officer, died instantly from the fall, Lyons said. The horse, which was shot by one of the inmates, was later euthanized.
Shortly before 11 a.m., the convicts ditched the truck, carjacked a woman and drove south along the I-45 feeder road with the woman still inside. Huntsville police officers shot a tire on the vehicle and the men fled the scene on foot. The carjacked woman was reportedly not injured.
Falk was captured a few minutes later. With the help of tracking dogs, Martin was captured approximately three hours later, having taken refuge in a tree.
Falk, 40, began serving a life sentence in 1986 for a murder in Matagorda County. Martin’s 50-year sentence stemmed from shooting at state troopers and sheriff’s deputies after he fled the scene of a domestic disturbance in Collin County near McKinney. Martin began serving that sentence in 1997.
Funeral services for Officer Canfield will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum on the Sam Houston State University campus.