Alberto Morales Manhunt: Fla. detective Jaime Pardinas, stabbed in prisoner escape, expected to recover
Miami-Dade police said Wednesday that 54-year-old Det. Jaime Pardinas is expected to survive, but it will take months for him to recover from stab wounds to his neck and back.
Authorities were searching Wednesday for 42-year-old Morales, a convicted sex offender who escaped after the attack. Police say Morales was so disruptive on a flight into Houston that they decided to transport him by ground the rest of the way.
They say Pardinas and Miami-Dade Det. David Carrero stopped near a Walmart in Grapevine, a Dallas suburb, while awaiting the arrival of a third officer who was flying in because policy requires there to be three officers present for a ground transfer.
While they were stopped, Morales broke off a piece from his eyeglasses and stabbed Pardinas once in the neck and three times in the back, police said. He fled and may still be wearing wrist shackles connected to a belt around his waist, they said.
Police were taking Morales to Nevada, where he was to serve a sentence of 30 years to life for a conviction of sexual assault with a weapon. But the officers and Morales weren't allowed to get back on the plane during a layover in Houston because of the inmate's erratic behavior, authorities said.
During the first leg of the flight, Morales was "bumping his head against a passenger seat in front of him, so he was doing a lot of crazy, unusual things that just disrupted the entire flight," Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson Jr. said Tuesday.
Longtime Las Vegas defense attorney Marc Saggese, who represented Morales in a Nevada criminal case, said Tuesday that Morales claimed he suffered a severe brain injury when he was hit in the head with a baseball bat at age 17, and that he hears voices and has trouble controlling his impulses.
"He said that ever since that attack and subsequent surgeries he has been struggling with demons in his head," Saggese said.
While in a jail medical ward, Morales mutilated his genitals and scrawled words in blood on the wall. He underwent a psychological examination by doctors at a Nevada state mental hospital in Sparks, but he was found competent to stand trial, the attorney said.
Morales eventually pleaded guilty in 2008 to sexually assaulting a woman at an apartment blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip in 2003. The woman told police a man jumped from her closet in the middle of the night, held a gun to her face, blindfolded her, attacked her several times and left after telling her he would kill her if she called police, according to Clark County District Court documents.
Following his conviction in Las Vegas, Morales was sent to Florida to face prior charges, Las Vegas police Officer Laura Meltzer said.
Back in Miami, Morales was sentenced to 10 years in prison in December after pleading guilty to sexual battery with a deadly weapon, burglary with assault and kidnapping stemming from 2003. He broke into a Miami-area home, pulled out a butcher knife and raped two women, according to a police report.
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