Man who escaped from Rhode Island prison pleads not guilty

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — An inmate who broke out of a Rhode Island prison and went on the run for five days has pleaded not guilty to an escape charge.

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha says James Morales was arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Providence.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment Tuesday charging Morales with escaping from the custody of the attorney general.

Morales fled the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls on Dec. 31. He was captured 50 miles north, in Somerville, Massachusetts.

The 35-year-old former Army reservist had been held for about a year on charges he stole 16 guns from a U.S. Army Reserve Center in Worcester.

It took hours for correctional officers to notice he had escaped.

Morales’ attorney couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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