Convicted Rapist Who Used Jet Ski in Prison Escape Captured in West Virginia

FORREST CITY — At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, an Arkansas State Police aircraft landed in east Arkansas carrying recaptured inmate Samuel Paul Hartman, 39, Hartman’s wife Misty Hartman, 39, and his mother Linda Annette White, 61.

ASP Criminal Investigation Division (CID) investigators interviewed Hartman before returning him to Arkansas Department of Corrections custody. The two women, also interviewed by ASP CID, were transported to the Woodruff County Jail.

ASP Troopers were responsible for securely transporting the Hartmans and White from West Virginia to Arkansas. The trio remained in ASP custody until approximately 1 a.m. today.

Hartman, who had been serving a life sentence at East Arkansas Regional Unit for rape, escaped on August 12, 2022. Hartman was working in a field near the detention facility when a pickup truck with the women inside approached. Gunshots were fired at a corrections officer from the waiting vehicle as Hartman ran towards it. The vehicle then quickly left and headed to two jet skis that were placed near the Mississippi River, not far from the prison, as mentioned in the statement.

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

The three were captured on Tuesday, August 29, at a motel in Lewisburg, West Virginia.  The U.S. Marshals, West Virginia State Police, Lewisburg Police Department and Greenbrier County Sheriff’s Office took them into custody.

Also taken into custody was White’s boyfriend Rodney Trent, 52, of Lester, West Virginia. The two women are alleged to have helped Hartman escape using a pickup truck and jet skis. Trent faces felony charges for allegedly harboring a sex offender and for assisting the trio while on the run.

A comprehensive investigation is underway. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

adapted press release

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