The escape of a 21-year-old murder suspect from a Florida courtroom Friday was likely “pre-planned,” says Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Dayonte Omar Resiles pulled off the vanishing act in a courtroom filled with inmates, lawyers, visitors and two unarmed, civilian bailiffs. He dropped his black-and-white striped prison jumpsuit and a set of handcuffs on a hallway floor before he disappeared. Israel called the escape his “worst fear” as deputies and Fort Lauderdale police launched a countywide manhunt.
Resiles is accused of the 2014 stabbing murder of Jill Halliburton Su, 59, during a burglary at her home. Lawyer H. Dohn Williams described Resiles, who is facing the death penalty, as soft spoken and said he was a father. Resiles has “always been very optimistic about the potential outcome” of the case, which was to get the death penalty off the table, Williams said. Police consider Resiles a serial burglar. Before he fled, Resiles was in a jurors’ box filled with prisoners awaiting hearings. Suspects brought from jail to court wear chains around their waists that are attached to their wrists and ankles. Somehow, Resiles, who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 175 pounds, was able to free himself.