Sheriff Jared F. Miller is pleased to announce that, during the evening of March 7, 2018, the last of the three escapees who escaped from the Wakulla County Jail on November 17, 2017, was captured.
During the early morning hours of November 17, 2017, inmates Joel Teraill Cooper, Donald James Cotterman, and Casey Brandon Martina escaped from the Wakulla County Jail. Since their escape, Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division (CID), the State Attorney’s Office and the United States Marshals Service have collaboratively followed-up on many investigative leads to facilitate their capture. Following their escape, the three escapees traveled across the United States and committed multiple Automated Teller Machine thefts and other crimes, and CID Detectives have been working with the law enforcement agencies of the affected jurisdictions in solving those crimes.
On November 21, 2017, escaped inmate Casey Martina was apprehended as he slept in a residence in Rockwell, North Carolina. After his capture, two CID Detectives drove through the night to Rockwell, North Carolina, to interview Mr. Martina and conduct other investigative inquiries. On November 21, 2017, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office confirmed information that had already been released to the media by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office that Mr. Martina had been taken into custody in Rowan County North Carolina. Mr. Martina has since been returned to the Wakulla County Jail, where he remains incarcerated.
On March 2, 2018, escaped inmate Joel Teraill Cooper was arrested by the Phoenix Police Department as he exited a hotel room in Phoenix, Arizona. He was booked into the Maricopa County Jail and the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office was notified. No information was publicly released about his capture to afford CID Detectives the opportunity to follow-up on investigative leads resulting from his capture, without fellow escapee Donald James Cotterman becoming aware through social media. On March 7, 2018, a CID Detective and a State Attorney Investigator flew to Phoenix to interview Mr. Cooper and to conduct other investigative inquiries. Mr. Cooper has waived extradition and will be returned to the Wakulla County Jail at a future date.
On March 7, 2018, escaped inmate Donald James Cotterman was located and arrested in a hotel room in Las Cruces, New Mexico, by the United States Marshals Service. He was subsequently booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center. Once the extradition process is resolved, Mr. Cotterman will be returned to the Wakulla County Jail.
At this juncture, no additional information is being provided as the investigation remains active with respect to events that transpired following their escape. Once the case is fully solved and closed, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office will transparently make all of the information available to the public.