Childress man sentenced to 40 years after escaping county jail

Married couple, who has worked with the Salvation Army in Texas for years, moves to Amarillo offices.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 2:05 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:53 PM CST
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PANHANDLE, Texas (KFDA) - A jury has sentenced a man to 40 years in prison after escaping a county jail last year.

According to the release by the 100th Judicial District Attorney, 48-year-old Gary Allen Darnell was sentenced after he pleaded guilty for aggravated assault against a public servant with a deadly weapon.

On November 17, 2022, Darnell escaped from the Hall County Jail by overpowering a jailer and holding a sharpened toothbrush handle to her throat, according to District Attorney Luke Inman.

After a man hunt from law enforcement and the Texas Rangers, Darnell was captured in Lubbock County around nine hours later.

The Hall County Grand Jury indicted Darnell on December 8, 2022.

“Anything less than 40 years wasn’t even a possibility for a plea bargain from our office,” said Assistant District Attorney Harley Caudle. “Thankfully, I think we have finally dealt with Gary Darnell for the last time.”

At the time of his escape, Darnell was in custody for multiple burglary and theft warrants from Childress County, along with a manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance charge in Hall County.

“This defendant could be a case-study for what happens when one dedicates a lifetime to methamphetamine-fueled crime,” said Inman. “By assaulting a jailer with a homemade ‘shank,’ Darnell finally sealed his own fate.”

Darnell must serve 50 percent pf the 40-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.