Roundup of Tennessee Prison Escapees

(WVLT) - The Tennessee Department of Corrections has captured several inmates who escaped from custody, some more than 25 years ago.

Agents tracked down six escapees whose crimes include drug charges, grand larceny and forgery.

Helen Lawler, 71, escaped in 1981 from the Memphis Community Service Center. She was captured in Covington, Tennessee and is now in the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville.

Billy Lovingood, 51, escaped from the Knoxville Community Service Center in 1984. Agents captured him in Sweetwater and he's now at the Charles Bass Correctional Complex in Nashville.

James McGaha, 55, escaped from the Middle Tennessee Reception Center in 1974 and was captured in Cleveland, Tennessee. He's also at the Charles Bass Complex.

In 1980, Bramlett Walker, 64, escaped from the Memphis Community Service Center. He was captured in Memphis.

Police captured Larry Payne, 60, in Texas. He escaped the Nashville Community Service Center in 1981.

And Guy Kennison, 51, was captured in South Carolina. He failed to return from a furlough to the Metro Nashville Pre-Release Center.

Some of those captured are pictured below.

The roundup of prison escapees is part of an ongoing investigation called "Operation Clean Sweep," where they are targeting dozens of other escapees.

They say they do expect more arrests.


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  • by ashley Location: sweetwater tennessee on Feb 19, 2008 at 03:30 PM
    billy lovingood is my dad and he is a special person. he deservers to be at home. he don't need in a place like that.
  • by stacey on Nov 20, 2007 at 02:58 AM
    Billy Lovingood is my father and he is one of the best men you could ever come to meet.He was snitched on is how he got caught and his living wasnt how they portrayed it to be.He didnt live the famous life that he wanted to but we were all happy as anyone else could be in this messed up world.i love my dad more than anything and i wish nothing more than for him to be back home.he did work on a dairy farm and we didnt have much but i can honestly say that my father provided for his family as much as he could and he was always there with us.as for all of you news channels,you need to get your stories straight before you publish them.our front door wasnt a piece of insulation,lol,it was a door just like anyone elses.i love you and miss you dad.
  • by HowStupidAreYou on Nov 4, 2007 at 01:22 AM
    This story needs to get off the internet. Because it is not correct. It couldn't be futher from the truth. I know one man has served his time. And has RELEASE papers. The TDOC messed up big time. And everyone's going to see that. We'll make them look as bad as they have made this innocent man look. Karma's comming TDOC...
  • by DrJohn Location: Cleveland,Tn on Nov 2, 2007 at 05:07 PM
    This is the most screwed up government. Takeing a man out of his house for something that happened 30 years ago!! Everyone wonders why the prisons are over crowded, because this government rather put someone behind bars for somehting done a long time ago instead of drug users,killers and rapist, the real criminals. Tn is one of the most crooked government states. We need a real man/woman to step up and take control of this government, because the ones now have no balls. Society is so messed up because of the stupid official's we have.
  • by MadAsHeck Location: Tn on Nov 1, 2007 at 07:40 PM
    Ya'll think your so big a bad. When you took a guy out of his home. Who already served his time. And your saying he escaped. He's been in the same place for 30 years. He wasn't hiding from anyone. He's a very successful person. Very honest and loving. You have made a big mistake. How could he escape a place he was never at? His rights were violated in every directions. The TDOC is in the wrong. And they need to clear this up really really really soon.....

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