LEWISBURG, WV (WOWK) – An escaped inmate from Arkansas who has been on the run for the last year has been arrested in West Virginia, along with three other people.
According to U.S. Marshals, the inmate, identified as Samuel Paul Hartman, 39, escaped from a work detail near the East Arkansas Regional Unit on Aug. 12, 2022. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 after being convicted of raping a 14-year-old.
U.S. Marshals say a vehicle approached the work crew while Hartman was on work detail last August. Two women got out of the vehicle and allegedly fired shots at the work crew while Hartman ran toward the vehicle. The women were later identified as Hartman’s wife, Misty Hartman, 39, and Hartman’s mother Linda Annette White, 61.
The vehicle then fled while Department of Corrections officers pursued. DOC officers say they followed the vehicle almost to the Mississippi River where the Hartmans and White ran toward waiting jet skis. Authorities later found the jet skis abandoned on the Mississippi side of the riverbank, according to U.S. Marshals.
While investigating, authorities learned in March 2023 that White had ties to West Virginia. U.S. Marshals in Arkansas say they then reached out to the Southern District of West Virginia for help in the case.
Just over a year after Samuel Hartman’s escape, U.S. Marshals, West Virginia State Police, the Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office and the Lewisburg Police Department located the group at the Quality Inn in Lewisburg, West Virginia, on Aug. 29, 2023.
U.S. Marshals say the Hartmans, White and White’s boyfriend, 52-year-old Rodney Trent of Lester, West Virginia, were all arrested at the scene.
“Today’s capture was the result of deliberate and determined law enforcement work,” said Joe Profiri, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. “The United States Marshals Service, Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas Department of Corrections have kept this case on the forefront and followed hundreds of leads over the course of the last year. We appreciate the support and assistance from all agencies involved, the Arkansas Governor’s office, and the State of West Virginia in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.”
“In my nearly 30 years of law enforcement, I cannot recall a task force that has the level of dedication to accomplishing the mission and making our communities safer than that of CUFFED (Cops United Felony Fugitive Enforcement Division Task Force),” said Michael Baylous, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of West Virginia. “The apprehension of these dangerous fugitives demonstrates the close and outstanding relationship that CUFFED enjoys with our local and state partners, other USMS Districts, and the USMS Domestic Investigations Branch.”