Newly released security camera footage shows a 28-year-old murder suspect in Oregon fleeing from the courthouse moments after his hands and legs were unshackled.
Surveillance video released Thursday by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office shows accused murderer Edi Villalobos attempting a daring escape from the county courthouse during jury selection on Monday, Feb. 27.
Villalobos was preparing to stand trial on multiple felony charges, including second-degree murder in the 2021 fatal stabbing of 33-year-old Artemio Guzman-Olvera. He was also charged with two counts of first-degree burglary, unlawful use of a weapon, reckless driving, and reckless endangerment.
According to a press release from the sheriff’s office, two deputies with the Court Security Unit were assigned to escort Villalobos to the courthouse and stay with him for the duration of his trial. However, Oregon law requires that a defendant not be restrained in front of the jury or potential jurors to avoid the defendant being unfairly prejudiced.
The three-minute video shows the deputies escorting a shackled Villalobos back to the courtroom following an 11 a.m. break. Prior to potential jurors being let back into the room, the deputies removed his wrist and leg restraints. Just seconds later, Villalobos hops over what appears to be a chair and bolts for the exit with the two deputies giving chase.
The video then cuts to the courthouse hallway, and Villalobos is shown running and exiting the building through a “staff only” door with both deputies only seconds behind him.
Villalobos managed to evade the pursuing deputies and a two-hour manhunt ensued. Multiple law enforcement agencies took part in the search for the defendant, including officers from the Hillsboro Police Department and the Forest Grove Police Department, using canines and drones to scan the nearby area.
Authorities also sent a “reverse 911 message” to local residents ordering them to shelter in place until Villalobos was back in custody. Police spotted Villalobos twice over the subsequent two hours, both resulting in foot chases where he ultimately got away.
As the search continued, deputies received a call from a community member in the 300 block of SE 4th Avenue who reported seeing an adult male attempting to break into an apartment directly underneath the caller’s apartment. The owner of the apartment told authorities that the residence was uninhabited and should be empty.
Deputies say they made entry into the apartment and discovered Villalobos hiding underneath a blanket inside a closet. He was then taken into custody and transferred back to Washington County Jail.
Later that afternoon, a grand jury indicted Villalobos on two additional counts of first-degree burglary and one count of second-degree escape, according to the release. His trial, which was scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 27, was canceled and rescheduled for the end of September.
A WCSO spokesperson told Portland NBC affiliate KGW8 that the agency is currently reviewing the incident and plans on addressing the escape through additional training.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]