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June 12, 2014

Tough scrape: Inmate faces new charges after failed escape try

DALTON, Ga. — An inmate at a Georgia detention center could spend more time behind bars after officials said he tried to use a piece of metal to cut through his cell wall in an apparent escape attempt.

Jeffrey Dewayne Land Jr., who was indicted last year on charges including arson and kidnapping, has been charged with criminal attempt to commit escape and interference with government property after a search of his cell uncovered a metal rod. The rod was possibly torn from a mop bucket, a jail official said.

According to Whitfield County Sheriff’s Capt. Rick Swiney, it was discovered that Land had been using the rod to try to scrape through the mortar of his cell wall.

“He was nowhere near digging through,” Swiney said. “Even if he’d gotten through the concrete he would have come up against some steel. If he’d somehow cut through the steel, there’s some more concrete on the other side.”

Land was arrested after a high-speed chase in January 2013 after setting fire to another man’s car and sending the man threatening text messages, officials said. He was then 35.

According to incident reports, Land led law officers on a chase through parts of Dalton at speeds of up to 80 mph before taking off on foot through a field. He then fled through the woods and waded into the Conasauga River in an attempt to avoid arrest.

At the time, there were already warrants for Land for aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon for an incident in which he hit a man on the head with a gun and threatened him with it in October 2012.

Land is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges in Whitfield County Superior Court on Aug. 7.

Information for this story was reported by the Dalton (Ga.) Daily Citizen.

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