Sheriff: Escaped murder suspect was held with co-defendant despite prior escape attempt

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — During an early morning interview on 17 News at Sunrise, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood revealed escaped murder suspect Tyrone Johnson was being held with his alleged accomplice, despite the two trying to escape from jail last year.

Johnson and David Palms could have gone to trial in July for the murder of 3-year-old Major Sutton in 2017; the Bakersfield toddler was gunned down in a suspected hit by the East Side Crips, who were targeting a rival gang member the child’s mother lived with. The man wasn’t home at the time, but Sutton’s pregnant mother and older brother were both wounded.

The Sheriff said the two inmates were being held in the same cell, despite a previous escape attempt at a different facility “9 or 10 months ago.”

Both succeeded in getting out on April 28. While not giving away too many details to protect security at the Lerdo Justice Facility, Sheriff Youngblood said the two somehow managed to get onto the roof of the jail, then used a nearby flag pole to reach the ground.

Palms was arrested later in Shafter, but Johnson is still at large. Sheriff Youngblood said investigators believe they have an idea of his general location, but would not say if Johnson is still in Kern County. He also says they’re reviewing staff, protocol and the facility itself to prevent a similar escape from happening again.

Sheriff Youngblood said KCSO is willing to pay anyone for information that leads to Johnson’s re-arrest. They can call KCSO at (661) 861-3110 or the anonymous Kern Secret Witness tip line at (661) 322-4040.

Youngblood said they believe Johnson is trying to avoid people, but he’s still considered to be dangerous. If you see Tyrone Johnson, do not approach him, and call 911.

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