An area prison inmate faces several new charges this week after allegedly attempting to take a corrections officer hostage in order to escape from the Potosi Correctional Center earlier this year.
Aaron Stevens, 39, was charged on Wednesday in Washington County with first-degree assault or attempt - special victim, violence to a Department of Corrections employee by an inmate, possession of a weapon at a correctional facility, unlawful use of a weapon, and three counts of armed criminal action.
According to a probable cause statement, on Feb. 2, a corrections officer was escorting Stevens from Housing Unit 3 to the canteen area at the Potosi Correctional Center. When the officer and Stevens reached the zone 1 main door, the man reportedly turned toward the officer, pulling a homemade weapon from his waistband and grabbing her around her neck, holding the weapon to her neck.
The report states the officer then fell backward, hitting the back of her head on the concrete. Stevens reportedly continued trying to choke the officer as she kicked at him and called for help over her radio.
As assisting staff arrived to aid the officer, the report states that Stevens attempted to choke her and place her in front of him as a shield. Prison staff members were eventually able to free the officer from Stevens' chokehold, according to the report.
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Later, Stevens was questioned about what happened. The report states the man admitted that this was a planned hostage situation.
Stevens reportedly told investigators that he wanted to escape and will continue trying to escape. The man had written his hostage demands on his tablet the day before and stated he would have stabbed his hostage if his demands had not been met, according to the statement. His tablet was seized as evidence.
Stevens also allegedly admitted he had been smoking "deuce," or K2, a synthetic cannabinoid also sometimes called "spice." The report states that officers found three small pieces of the drug on Stevens' person.
Department of Corrections inmate records indicate Stevens has since been assigned to the Jefferson City Correctional Center. An initial arraignment in the case is scheduled for Nov. 8 in Washington County.
Records show the man is currently serving a 23-year sentence for convictions of first-degree kidnapping, sexual abuse, sodomy, stealing, three counts of armed criminal action, and three counts of first-degree burglary. He also has prior charges for escape from custody.
The criminal complaint filed on Wednesday states that Stevens, as a persistent offender, is facing three life sentences plus 90 years if convicted of the newly filed charges.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org