Fugitive's mother in Clayton court

By Ed Brock

The mother of one of two accused murderers who broke out of Clayton County jail was in court Thursday on charges of aiding her son's escape.

After the preliminary hearing in Clayton County Magistrate Court, the case against Jerry Dale Gilreath, 56, of Preston Drive in Rex, was bound over to a grand jury for indictment consideration, according to the Clayton County Sheriff's Office.

Her son, Shawn Stanley Gilreath, 28, and 25-year-old Floyd Wayne Williams escaped from the Harold R. Banke Justice Center on Nov. 18 and were recaptured Dec. 5 in Baltimore, Md. Jerry Gilreath was arrested last week.

The two men forced their way through a security screen in an exercise yard on the night of the escape, scaled a perimeter fence and got into a waiting car and rode away. Jerry Gilreath admitted to driving that car and taking her son and Williams to an area near Hudson Bridge and Rock Quarry roads and dropping them off, Clayton County sheriff's Chief Deputy Shelby Foles said.

Williams, from Union City, has been charged with murder in the October 2001 shooting death of 16-month-old Jose Arias and 48-year-old Alejandro Gutierrez. He is also the half-brother of Michael Hutson, 30, who was arrested along with another man in April of the same year in connection with a home invasion at the same home and during which the robbers held a gun to Arias' head.

Gilreath is believed to be the mastermind behind the 1996 killing of 69-year-old Edwin Levi McCollum, a clerk at the now-closed Bear Paw Army-Navy Store on Tara Boulevard in Jonesboro. Gilreath possibly had connections to white supremacist groups, said former Jonesboro Police Lt. Roosevelt Smith, now a major with the Zebulon Police Department, who investigated the case in 1996.

Gilreath's trial on the Clayton County charges was scheduled for January. The county has not hurried to try Gilreath because he is already serving a lengthy sentence on federal bank robbing charges, Clayton County District Attorney Bob Keller said.

Gilreath and Williams were arrested in Baltimore in connection with another bank robbery.