Pocahontas man opens front door to escaped inmate

Cheri Burtman (Source: Randolph County Sheriff's Department)
Cheri Burtman (Source: Randolph County Sheriff's Department)

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - A Pocahontas man opened his door to an escaped inmate from the Randolph County Jail Monday evening.

"When she started knocking, I was at the kitchen table and I just walked over and opened up the door," Mathews explained. "She didn't say nothin', she just bolted in!"

Escaped inmate, Cheri Ann Burman, still in her county jail clothes, barged into Mathew's home in Pocahontas.

"She said 'I just escaped from jail' and I said 'You can't be here!'" David Mathews told Region 8 News. "Then, she wanted clothes to change out of the county jail clothes and tried to take my clothes and I wouldn't give 'em up!"

Mathews explained he knows Burtman but hasn't seen her in years. He said she came to his house looking for a phone number so she could get out of the state.

"I wouldn't give it to her," Mathews said. "I was trying to buy time so I could get outside to call 911 and thank goodness, they showed up!"

Mathews said police were hot on Burtman's tail, quickly ending her time as a free woman.

"I just opened the door and told them "she's back there in the back," Mathews laughed. Mathews said Burtman was in his home for four minutes before police were at his door.

As for how she got from the jail to Mathews' house on Convent Street, Mathews said Burtman told him she'd received a ride from a person near the jail.

"She said she got up and walked out of the police station over there and they didn't know she was gone," Mathews explained.

Randolph County Sheriff Gary Tribble told Region 8 News Monday night that a jailer opened up a door to bring a different inmate to an awaiting ambulance. Tribble said that's when Burtman walked out and across the street to the softball fields where she started asking people for rides. Someone there obliged and eventually dropped her off at Mathews' home.

As for Mathews, he said Monday night taught him a valuable lesson.

"I do not recommend anybody opening their front door unless they know who's at the door. They need to look before they open the door because they never know who's on the other side," he said.

Sheriff Tribble did not wish to speak with Region 8 News on camera Tuesday. Tribble said the sheriff's office is still investigating the incident.

According to Tribble, Burtman was in jail on a warrant for non-payment of fines.

She now faces a class D felony for escape.

Copyright 2013 KAIT. All Rights Reserved.