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MCTC escapee had liberal access to prison grounds

July 21, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - A convicted armed robber who escaped last week from the Maryland Correctional Training Center here had unsupervised access to the prison grounds even though he was convicted of a shooting death in Washington.

Raymond Eric Dodd, 24, of Landover, escaped July 12 during his shift as a prison janitor at MCTC. He has not been recaptured.

The janitorial job regularly included outdoor tasks such as window washing and litter pickup that allowed Dodd to roam the area around the prison's Housing Unit No. 4 without constant monitoring, officials said.

Officials defended Dodd's prison work assignment.

''His charges did not prevent him from being assigned to a custodial job,'' corrections spokesman Dave Towers said. ''Inmates of various security levels work at a variety of jobs, from kitchen work to maintenance, that allow them access to potentially dangerous tools or to the prison grounds. That's the nature of things.''

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Dodd was serving an 18-year sentence for armed robbery. He was scheduled to serve a Washington sentence of 10 years to life for manslaughter when he completes the Maryland sentence.

Police believe Dodd has gone to the Baltimore-Washington area, said Maryland State Police Sgt. Robert Turano.

As the search for Dodd entered its ninth day Wednesday, the Maryland Department of Corrections was no closer to finding out how Dodd escaped from the prison south of Hagerstown, Towers said.

Dodd was last seen at the prison on July 12 at about 10:30 a.m. He was discovered missing at 3 p.m., during a routine head count.

Police and corrections officials were aware that Dodd also faced a sentence of 10 years to life on Washington, D.C., charges for manslaughter.

The details of Dodd's conviction were made public this week by officials at Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Dodd was 17 when he was charged with felony murder in the death of Abdur-Rahim Muhammad in a northeast Washington, D.C., residence.

Muhammad was shot in the head and neck on Sept. 24, 1992, court records show.

A witness told police that Dodd and others burst into the residence demanding money and jewelry, court records show.

The murder charge against Dodd was dropped after he agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter, court officials said.

A group of security experts has recommended security improvements at MCTC, including more razor wire in certain areas and a review of the prison's policy of accounting for prisoners, Towers said.

MCTC is scheduled to get a new electronic fence next spring, a security improvement that was planned before the escape, Towers said.

Anyone with information about Dodd's whereabouts may call state police at 301-739-2101.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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