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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KCBS) — A man accused in the October 2012 slaying of a retired San Francisco Bay area schoolteacher amid a West Coast crime spree has attempted an escape from jail by trying to carve his way out of a cell window, Contra Costa County prosecutors said.
During a preliminary hearing Monday, prosecutor Molly Manoukian said in the months after his 2012 arrest, 26-year-old Darnell Washington had fashioned a rope out of bed sheets and hoarded stabbing devices at a Contra Costa County jail.
The 26-year-old Washington and his wife, Tania, are accused in the killing of 55-year-old Susie Ko in Hercules during a robbery, burglary and carjacking.
Washington broke out of the San Bernardino County Jail on August 28, 2012, where he was in custody on an armed robbery charge with the help of his wife, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Investigators believe the pair went on a crime spree that also included the shooting of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy days after the escape when the deputy spotted Darnell Washington and attempted to detain him. The pair fled the area after carjacking a vehicle, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials.
A year before that successful escape, he tried to escape from the same facility, authorities said.
The couple were arrested October 10, 2012 in the Seattle area after leading police on a high-speed chase with Ko’s stolen car.
Washington’s attorney had asked the judge to allow his client to sit in court unshackled but the denied his request.
Darnell and Tania Washington have pleaded not guilty to the charges in the schoolteacher carjacking and murder, which could earn them the death penalty. Their preliminary hearing is expected to last through Wednesday.
The Washingtons will face prosecution for attempted murder on the deputy shooting in Los Angeles County after the Contra Costa County case is resolved.