LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A man convicted of a 1997 slaying in Nebraska escaped from a work-release correctional center this month, six days after his victim’s son was killed, prison officials confirmed Tuesday.
Anthony Gafford, 40, left the Community Corrections Center in Lincoln at 6 a.m. Saturday to go to work, but he never returned, according to the Nebraska Correctional Services Department. Inmates are not directly supervised at the center, which is among the least restrictive facilities in the prisons system.
Police didn’t immediately return messages Tuesday about whether Gafford knew about the death of his victim’s son or if Gafford is being investigated in connection to the death.
Gafford was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to between 30 and 50 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Jacque Holbert III in September 1997.
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Holbert’s 21-year-old son, Jacque “Jack” Holbert IV, was shot on Jan. 20 while lying in a bed in a home in Omaha. The shots came from outside the house, police said. He later died at a hospital. No arrests have been reported by police.
An Omaha police representative didn’t immediately return messages from The Associated Press. A spokesman for the Nebraska State Patrol, which investigates crimes inside prison facilities, said he was checking on the case but couldn’t immediately comment.
Correctional Services Department spokeswoman Laura Strimple said Gafford was still missing as of Tuesday.
The Omaha World-Herald reported that Gafford fired shots after Holbert III stared at him as their vehicles passed in September 1997. Gafford got out of his vehicle and shot Holbert in the chest, according to court records.
Prison records show Gafford’s scheduled release date is Dec. 11, 2022. He also had a parole hearing coming up in April.