Police & Fire

Prison walk-off escapee’s case heading to grand jury

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The case against a convicted murderer and Hancock County native who is charged with escaping the Charleston prison two weeks ago will likely be heard by a grand jury.

Assistant Penobscot County District Attorney Alice Clifford said she is awaiting the completion of the investigation of Arnold Nash’s escape before seeking an indictment. An indictment is not a finding of guilt, but rather a determination that enough evidence exists to bring a case to trial.

The indictment charging him with escape, a class C crime, will likely occur at the Penobscot County Judicial Center in two or three months, she said.

“He was taken back into custody so there’s no rush on this,” Clifford said.

Nash, who had about 14 months to go in his sentence for the 1991 murder and robbery of his neighbor in Sullivan, walked off the grounds of the fence-less Mountain View Correctional Facility on Sept. 13.

The 65-year-old was recaptured when a Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department sergeant saw him walking along the road in Dover-Foxcroft only about 12 miles from the prison. Imprisoned for various crimes for most of his adult life, Nash is believed to have escaped to get resentenced to more time behind bars.

State prison officials defended Nash’s placement at the minimum-security prison, saying he had earned an early release from his 45-year sentence with good behavior. Staying at Mountain View would have helped him transition to life outside better than being confined to something more strict, they said.

He is now being held at Maine State Prison in Warren, officials have said.

If convicted of escape, Nash will face a sentence of up to five years imprisonment, Clifford said.

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