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Clayton fugitive jailed in South Carolina

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

A Jonesboro man who fled from Clayton County Sheriff's deputies recently while handcuffed, is not fighting extradition after being arrested in South Carolina, according to the Clayton County Sheriff's Office.

Cameron Richardson, 19, of Jonesboro ran from Clayton County deputies March 18, after he was pulled over for a seat belt violation near the intersection of Tara Boulevard and Mt. Zion Road, according to Clayton County Sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Sonja Sanchez.

Deputies found marijuana and 72 ecstasy pills in Richardson's front pants pocket, according to the sheriff's office. Authorities also found two firearms in the vehicle, Sanchez said.

Richardson was in custody with handcuffs on when he escaped while deputies were questioning two other males who had been in the vehicle, according to Sanchez. The other two men were not arrested.

Richardson was captured March 22, in Spartanburg, S.C., when a South Carolina Highway Patrol officer pulled him over in what turned out to be a stolen vehicle, according to Tony Ivey, a public information officer for the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office.

"I think there was a paper tag on the car he was driving, which was a Ford Explorer," said Ivey. He said it was not clear why a South Carolina Highway Patrol officer pulled the vehicle over. "They ran the VIN number and it came back as a stolen vehicle out of Jonesboro, Ga.," he said.

Ivey said there was no indication in the arrest report that Richardson was still wearing handcuffs when he was stopped by South Carolina authorities.

"I would probably assume that he was not wearing the handcuffs when he was arrested because he was driving the vehicle and the officer did not make any mention of that in the report," Ivey said.

Richardson is being held in the Spartanburg County jail. South Carolina authorities have charged him with possession of a stolen vehicle, driving without a license, failure to stop for blue lights, and as a fugitive from justice. Ivey said the fugitive-from-justice charge stems from the charges Richardson faces in Clayton County.

Bond has been set at $10,237 on the charge of driving without a license, according to Ivey. He said the bond amount is unusually high for such a charge, and said the judge likely set the high bond amount to make sure Richardson remains in custody.

Ivey said no bond has been set on the three other South Carolina charges. "What's holding him up is getting bond set on those three charges," he said. Ivey said no bond hearing has been set on those charges.

The Spartanburg County solicitor's office will decide how to proceed with the South Carolina charges in light of the charges Richardson faces in Clayton County, Ivey said.

"We could reduce, or dismiss, charges and release him to face the music in Georgia, or we could go ahead and decide we want to prosecute him on the charges he's facing here. Then, after he's done his time, paid his fine ... we would notify Georgia ... you guys can come pick him up," Ivey said.

Ivey said a female passenger who was in the car with Richardson has also been charged. Crystal Gioielli, 25, of Norfolk, Va., was arrested and charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, and giving false information to police.

"She stated to the officers that she had stolen the vehicle on March 21," Ivey said. He said Gioielli initially gave a false name to South Carolina authorities.

Clayton County sheriff's authorities have charged Richardson with felony escape, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of marijuana, violation of the Georgia Controlled Substance Act, and a seat belt violation, according to Jennifer Lee, fugitive coordinator for the Clayton County Sheriff's Office. Lee said Richardson has also been charged with theft by taking, for taking off with the handcuffs.