After more than a month on the loose, the final of the four inmates who allegedly escaped a Georgia jail has been captured.
Accused murderer Joey Fournier, who fled the Bibb County Jail along with three fellow inmates on Oct. 16, was captured just before noon Saturday near Stockbridge, Georgia, which is about 65 miles northwest of the jail. Several law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Gang Unit, conducted a “coordinated operation” to take the 52-year-old Fournier into custody, according to a press release.
“We are grateful that this last escapee has been captured,” Bibb County Sheriff David Davis said in a statement.
Authorities returned Fournier back to the Bibb County Jail later Saturday. According to CBS affiliate WMAZ, Fournier is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend Cynthia Berry, who had moved into a home to escape Fournier, in February 2022. Around 3 a.m. Oct. 16, Fournier, Johnifer Dernard Barnwell, 37, Chavis Demaryo Stokes, 29, and Marc Kerry Anderson, 25, allegedly escaped the jail through a damaged day room window, cut a fence and fled in a blue Dodge Challenger that had pulled up to drive the escapees away, according to deputies.
A week ago, cops arrested Barnwell at a home in Augusta, more than 120 miles northeast from where he escaped. Officials said they recovered “large amounts of drugs of trafficking quantity” from the home where Barnwell, 37, was staying. His initial charge was tied to a federal drug trafficking case.
Ten days after the escape, the U.S. Marshals captured Stokes in a home in Montezuma, about 50 miles southwest of the jail. Then on Nov. 3, the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia State Patrol SWAT and US Marshals took Anderson into custody in Atlanta. Stokes was originally charged with possession of a firearm and drug trafficking while Anderson faces an aggravated assault charge. Additional charges against the escaped inmates are forthcoming.
The manhunt for the four escapees hauled in another wanted murderer who died by suicide as Marshals closed in on Oct. 23. As Law&Crime previously reported, Christian Williams, 23, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after U.S. Marshals arrived at an apartment complex, The Pines on Vineville.
Accused murderer Joey Fournier, right, in handcuffs, has been captured after he allegedly escaped the Bibb County Jail Oct. 16, along with three other men. The escapees Johnifer Barnwell (top right of the quartet), Fournier (top left), Chavis Stokes (bottom left) and Marc Anderson (bottom right) are all now in custody. (Bibb County Sheriff’s Office)
Authorities said the federal agents knocked on an apartment door. A man spoke to them from behind the closed door, and gunfire pierced the door from his side as Marshals announced themselves. Authorities called for help from the sheriff’s office SWAT team.
“Once the SWAT Team was on the scene, they were met by a subject that was inside of the apartment when the gunfire occurred,” authorities wrote. “The subject advised that a male subject was down from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Authorities identified the fatally wounded man as Williams. He initially survived in critical condition but soon died.
Williams disappeared on the late night of March 5, just hours before being slated to stand trial for allegedly shooting and killing Greg Lamar Watkins Jr., 27, at a Chevron.
Footage ostensibly shows at least two men kidnapping him. Bibb County Sheriff David Davis and Macon District Attorney Anita Reynolds Howard said at the time that they were not sure if Williams staged his disappearance, according to WMAZ.
Bibb County deputies told Law&Crime that Williams’ disappearance was staged.
Davis was vague about Williams’ alleged connection to the escapees.
“Let me make that clear — he is not one of our escapees,” Davis said when Christian Williams was still alive, according to WMAZ in an Oct. 23 report. “But he is a person that we feel has knowledge of where they might be, that has knowledge of the escape, and who has some connection to at least one or two of the people we’re looking for.”
Alberto Luperon contributed to this report
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