County trusty escapes from Hilltop

By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
July 20, 2004
Law enforcement officers searched today for a trusty who escaped Monday night from Hilltop House by slipping under a fence that surrounds the complex on Highway 39 North.
Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said the inmate, Cedric D. Smith, 28, who was serving a sentence for possession of cocaine, apparently ran down the hill and jumped into a waiting car driven by an unidentified woman.
The escape marks the first time a trusty has fled from the Hilltop House, where about 40 trusties live.
Trusties spend their days picking up trash along the highway; they also plant and care for watermelons, okra, tomatoes and other vegetables and fruit in a nearby garden.
An inmate convicted of a non-violent offense can obtain trusty status. A trusty wears green-and-white striped uniforms and earns one day off of their sentence for each day they serve as a trusty.
Sollie said one of Smith's fellow trusties at Hilltop, James Terry Suttles, was identified as assisting him in the escape. Suttles, Sollie said, will lose his trustee status, lose any time he's earned off of his sentence, have five additional years added and be transferred away from Lauderdale County.
Sollie said Suttles had recently completed the GED program and "will not get to walk now" in the ceremony to receive his GED certificate.
Once Smith is caught, another five years will also be tacked on to his current sentence, which Sollie said was "about five years."
Smith is described as being 6 feet tall and weighing about 225 pounds. Anyone with any information about the escape is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 917-8888.

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