Man who escaped from courthouse nabbed

After an afternoon on the lam, police caught up with an escaped fugitive who slipped out of one of his handcuffs and scampered down the back steps of the Randolph County Courthouse shortly after being sentenced in Circuit Court Thursday morning.

Thirty-three-year-old Derrick Armstrong told jailers he needed to use the restroom and then ran off, Randolph County Sheriff Mark Brady told The Inter-Mountain.

“He went to use the restroom and was able to abscond out of one of his handcuffs,” Brady said Thursday morning. “He still had one handcuff on and ran down the steps away from the jailer. At this time he’s still on the lam.”

Armstrong was apprehended by police at about 7 p.m. near the Davis & Elkins College campus in Elkins.

Brady said in light of Armstrong, who has two prior felony convictions, also will be charged with misdemeanor escape.

“There will be an escape warrant out for him,” the sheriff said.

Armstrong escaped about 10 minutes after he had been sentenced to two years in regional jail on two misdemeanor counts of domestic battery.

During the sentencing hearing, Randolph County Circuit Court Judge Jaymie Godwin Wilfong ordered that Armstrong be drug tested prior to the imposition of his sentence. When the results were returned, the judge wasn’t happy.

“Mr. Isner, your client lit up the screen for cocaine, and he also tested positive for suboxone,” Wilfong told Armstrong’s attorney, Phil Isner.

Wilfong asked Armstrong if he had anything to say.

“I just wanted to thank you and the court for allowing me to get therapy and see a psychologist,” Armstrong said. “It’s helped me out a lot with my kids. I apologize about the drug screening.”

Wilfong sentenced Armstrong to one year in regional jail on the first misdemeanor count of domestic battery, and one year in regional jail on the second misdemeanor count of domestic battery; the judge ordered that the sentences run consecutively, or back to back.

Wilfong was about to call another hearing to order when she learned from Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker that Armstrong had escaped.

“He will be held in contempt for disrupting this proceeding, and from the looks of it, Mr. Parker, you might have an additional charge for him,” the judge said.