Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross caught a wanted fugitive in Chattanooga on Thursday without breaking a sweat. In fact, he hadn’t been looking for him. Here’s the story:
Brothers Jason and Cecil Douglas appeared in Dade County Superior Court this spring term for charges of criminal trespass, possession of burglary tools and criminal attempt to commit a theft. The charges stem from a February arrest after both brothers were seen by a property owner attempting to steal a pull-behind trailer, cutting the chain and lock from it with bolt cutters.
Cecil Douglas pled guilty and was sentenced
last week to five years to be served in the Georgia Department of Corrections. Jason Douglas did not negotiate a plea deal but took his case to trial before the Honorable Judge Jon “Bo” Wood. On Tuesday, April 19, Cecil Douglas took the stand to testify against his brother, and after a brief deliberation, 12 jurors found Jason Douglas guilty of the charges filed.
The court broke for recess with sentencing to follow. Jason Douglas did not return to court for his sentencing but fled the jurisdiction of the court. In his absence, Judge Wood sentenced him to eight years to be served in the Georgia Department of Corrections and immediately issued a warrant for his arrest and return. Law enforcement officials from other local agencies assisted the Dade County Sheriff's Department in its search for the fugitive.
Then, this Thursday, April 21, the story took an odd turn: Dade County Sheriff Ray
Cross was on his way to an East Ridge hospital to be with his daughter, who was apparently going into labor. Arriving at the hospital, Sheriff Cross spotted Jason Douglas, accompanied by his girlfriend, at the gas station across the street from the hospital. Sheriff Cross approached Mr. Douglas and apprehended him.
The East Ridge Police Department sent officers to assume custody of Douglas and he was transported to the Hamilton County Jail, where he remains awaiting an extradition hearing.
"It worked out to our favor by chance, so I'm glad he now has to face his sentencing and wasn't on the run long," said Cross.