SHERIDAN, Ark. – A Grant County man walks out of his own court hearing while a jury was finding him guilty of a number of charges.
Monday, Joey Watts was on trial at the Grant County Courthouse in Arkansas. While the jury was deliberating his fate, he simply walked out. He was facing charges of aggravated assault and felony possession of a firearm.
In surveillance video, you see Joey Watts sitting next to his attorney. Watts gets up and walks away. He is seen walking down the stairs, down the hall, he says something to his family that was waiting nearby, and he leaves out the door. Outside, he walks down the street and is gone. All this happens while the jury was still in court.
Grant County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Pete Roberts says he was out on bond which gave him the ability to walk around.
“Mainly the fact that he was not in custody, and he was not an inmate, that gave him the freedom to move around throughout the courthouse and things like that,” Roberts.
Roberts says there wasn’t a second bailiff in the courtroom, because they don’t have one.
“The circuit court is in the process of hiring a new bailiff to prevent that, but they haven’t had that done yet.”
Deputies picked Watts up less than 24-hours later. Roberts says three others are now facing charges for helping him. He believes more arrests will follow.
“We want to make it clear that anyone that helped him is now facing a class-c felony charges also,” Roberts said.
While Watts was running off, the jury ultimately found him guilty of his charges. He was convicted to 36-years in prison.
Watts is back in custody in Grant County. He is expected to be back in court later this week on charges of failure to appear.