(LOS ANGELES) — Newly released video shows how three inmates broke out of a Southern California jail last year — from the point of view of the inmates themselves.
Using a contraband cellphone, the three men, Hoseein Nayer, Jonathan Tieu and Tien Duong, documented their escape from a maximum security wing of the Orange County Jail in January 2016. Duong turned himself into authorities a week after the escape, and Tieu and Nayeri were caught in San Francisco, 400 miles away from the jail, eight days after the escape.
The video, provided by an attorney connected to the case, shows one of the men lift a sawed-off bunk bed leg, revealing a metal screen already cut open. He then disappears into the vent, crawling through plumbing pipes inside the jail. An inmate even stops to give a thumbs-up to the camera before finally reaching the jail roof.
The video also shows the inmates in Northern California during their days on the run.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) said the video “contains footage that is part of an ongoing investigation and is consistent with information OCSD has already supplied verbally to the media. We will not provide additional comment on a video narrative that seeks to make light of criminal actions.”
At the time of the escape, Duong had been facing charges of attempted murder, while Tieu was charged with murder and Nayeri was charged with torture and kidnapping. All three inmates pleaded not guilty to the charges. The cases remain ongoing.
The three men are facing new charges for their escape as well. They are scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 14.
Others were arrested as well, accused of aiding the escape. Last month, Loc Ba Nguyen was convicted of leaving a knife and other items on the premises of the jail and then providing a getaway ride. He pleaded guilty to smuggling weapons into a correctional facility, aiding a prisoner’s escape and sending an article useful for escape into a prison. Tung Nguyen was charged with one felony count of being an accessory after the fact for providing money and beer to Duong after the inmates came to his home. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 10.
The Orange County Register reported earlier this month that local sheriff’s department officials said “jail mismanagement, understaffing and deputies’ longstanding disregard for department policies were major factors” in the escape.
In response to the jail break, “the sheriff’s department has increased staffing by $4.5 million annually, hiring nearly 22 new deputies and officers to man the facility, according to a confidential sheriff’s document obtained by the Register.”
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