Watch CBS News

Convicted rapist who used jet ski to escape Arkansas prison last year captured in West Virginia along with his wife and mother

A convicted rapist who authorities say used a jet ski during an escape from an Arkansas prison last year was arrested Tuesday in West Virginia, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Samuel Paul Hartman, 39, was arrested along with his wife, his mother and his mother's boyfriend at a hotel in Lewisburg, the Marshals Service said in a news release.

The women are accused of helping Hartman escape in August 2022 from the East Arkansas Regional Unit in Brickeys, 96 miles east of Little Rock.

Hartman was on a work detail in a field near the detention facility when a pickup truck with the women inside approached. Several gunshots were fired at a corrections officer from the waiting vehicle as Hartman ran to it. The vehicle fled to two jet skis staged near the Mississippi River not far from the prison, the statement said.

Police have said the abandoned jet skis were found on the Mississippi side of the river and that a witness reported seeing one man and two women riding them.

Investigators later determined that Hartman's mother had ties to West Virginia. Making the arrests Tuesday were U.S. marshals and officers with the West Virginia State Police, the Lewisburg Police Department and the Greenbrier County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities released a collage of the four arrested, with Hartman's photo appearing to show blood on his face.

UPDATE: Read the press release from the U.S. Marshals Service at Samuel...

Posted by Arkansas Department of Corrections on Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Joe Profiri, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, said investigators "followed hundreds of leads over the course of the last year" before the arrests were made. 

Arrested along with Hartman were his wife, 39-year-old Misty Hartman; his mother, Linda Annette White, 61; and Rodney Trent, 52, identified by the Marshals Service as White's boyfriend.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of a year of outstanding, dedicated work by our heroic law enforcement officers. Now that they have brought this dangerous fugitive to justice, all Arkansans can sleep safer at night," Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Trent faces felony charges of harboring a sex offender and of assisting Hartman and the two women, the Marshals Service said. The service did not say what charges Misty Hartman and White would face.

An Arkansas Department of Corrections spokeswoman said she expected the suspects to be extradited to Arkansas as soon as possible.

Hartman, 39, was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 for a rape conviction out of Franklin County, Arkansas.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.