Inmate escapes from Athens prison

Updated: Dec 1, 2020


Johnny Antoan Batton

By Joe Johnson

Authorities are searching for a state prisoner who escaped Monday morning from the Clarke County Correctional Institution off Lexington Road.

Johnny Antoan Batton, 23, of Alma, Ga. escaped while he was on a work detail with another inmate, unloading a food truck at the state medium-security prison at about 4:40 a.m., according to an Athens-Clarke County police incident report.

Authorities learned that Batton had escaped when a civilian employee at ACCPD told an officer that as she was jogging prior to going to work, she saw a male wearing a gray jumpsuit running fast across Lexington Road while looking over his shoulder near Thornton Plaza, where he disappeared behind a building, according to the report.

Dispatchers then checked with the county jail and pretrial diversion center, as well as the state prison, where a correctional officer told of Batton fleeing from the work detail while he was briefly left unsupervised.

Just a few moments later officers were dispatched to Cabin Lake Court, located directly behind Thornton Plaza on a report of a vehicle having just been stolen, according to the police report.

Police issued a statewide lookout for the stolen gray 2012 Nissan Rogue was stolen.

According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, Batton was serving a five-year sentence for a theft by taking conviction in Bacon County, where the prisoner’s hometown of Alma is located.

According to published news reports, Batton was a repeat offender who was arrested for stealing two cars in Alma.

Batton was described in the police report as a black male who is five feet, nine inches tall, 185 pounds, and was last seen wearing white pants and a white shirt with a blue stripe down the middle and the words Ga. Department of Corrections on the back.

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