Roanoke Times
                 Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc.

DATE: WEDNESDAY, April 20, 1994                   TAG: 9404200108
SECTION: VIRGINIA                    PAGE: C-1   EDITION: METRO 
DATELINE:                                 LENGTH: Medium


Robert D. Godfrey's 36-hour escape from jail ended abruptly Tuesday afternoon in a Carroll County mobile home.

Four Carroll County sheriff's deputies forced their way into the Cana home about 2:45 p.m. As they walked into the bedroom, they found Godfrey - a convicted murderer - trying to wedge himself under a bed.

"He didn't say anything," Carroll County Chief Deputy Warren Manning said. "In that kind of situation, you don't do much talking."

Godfrey fled the Grayson County Jail on Monday morning, escaping though an unlocked side door. Police had searched the area with tracking dogs and had stopped vehicles along U.S. 58 and 21, checking the identification of motorists.

Before being led to his jail cell late Tuesday, Godfrey said his escape was a matter of opportunity.

"It was a spur-of-the-moment thing," he said in a phone interview. "It hadn't been planned."

Godfrey, 25, has spent the last 14 months in the Grayson County Jail. He is awaiting transfer to a state prison, where he will serve a 200-year sentence for taking part in the shooting death of Albert Haywood Hamilton Sr., 68, of Grayson County.

Hamilton's body was found in the New River in February 1993, weighted down with a cinder block. He had been shot in the head and neck.

Godfrey was one of four men arrested in connection with the murder. In January, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and robbery.

Darrell Wayne Smith of Blacksburg and Charles Richard Akers of Fries are free on bail while awaiting trial. William Lacy Baldwin was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to murder and robbery last week and sentenced to 61 years in prison.

"I expected everything to come out" in Baldwin's trial, Godfrey said in the interview. He said he was present during Hamilton's killing but did not take part in it.

The "truth," according to Godfrey, was never revealed during Baldwin's trial. And Monday seemed like the perfect chance to make a break, Godfrey said.

While his cell was being cleaned, Godfrey was allowed into the hallway. He then fled through an unlocked side door.

Godfrey said he made his way the 30-or-so miles from the jail to the Carroll County trailer house by hitchhiking. Two people picked him up, not recognizing who he was, he said.

"I had my hair tucked up underneath my cap," Godfrey said.

When Godfrey left jail, he had the address of a fellow inmate whose wife lived on Virginia 690 off U.S. 52. Once he found the trailer, he said, the woman let him in.

When she didn't return Tuesday afternoon, Godfrey said, he knew something wasn't right. He said he believes the inmate told police where he was hiding.

Sheriff Herbert McKnight would say only that Grayson County sheriff's officers were tipped off by an anonymous caller. That call prompted Carroll County sheriff's deputies to make their move on the house.

"He was in a cold sweat when we put the cuffs on him," Manning, the Carroll County chief deputy, said.

Godfrey was turned over to Grayson County deputies who were waiting at the top of Fancy Gap Mountain, just up the way from the trailer.

Godfrey will be charged with escape, McKnight said.

"I'm pretty happy right now," Mc-Knight said. "We've all learned a little lesson. [Godfrey's] feeling pretty tough. They're leading him back to jail right now."

The Associated Press contributed some information to this story.

 by CNB