‘Dangerous’ escapee was facing lifetime in prison

Police around Mesa County and possibly the nation are on the lookout today for a “dangerous” Grand Valley man who escaped from jail early Tuesday morning.

Mesa County Jail inmate Shane Edward Johnson, who was slated to be sentenced next week to life in prison, escaped after hiding in a covered exercise yard, according to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department.

Johnson allegedly stayed in the yard after other inmates left at approximately 10:30 p.m. and escaped from the jail around midnight. He also placed items in his bed that made it appear he was sleeping there, until deputies discovered the ruse at about 3 a.m., Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.

At that time, deputies took an inmate count and determined Johnson was the missing inmate.

Authorities are investigating whether Johnson was aided by other inmates and people outside of the jail. They also are reviewing actions of jail staff who were present during the escape.

Jail officials would not disclose exactly how Johnson escaped, and Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey declined to be interviewed Tuesday about those details.

Johnson’s escape is the second at the jail, 215 Rice St., since it was built in 1992. On Jan. 30, 2007, a trusty, an inmate who is considered low risk and is allowed more privileges, walked away from a loading dock near the rear of the jail. That inmate, Jesus Roberto Holguin, was arrested hours later.

Police suspect Johnson is traveling in a late model gold or silver Toyota sedan with the license plates 945-RKT. His wife, Marilynne Ann (Beaman) Johnson, 46, of Colorado Springs, is being sought for questioning.

Shane Johnson is white, 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs approximately 180 pounds. He has blue eyes, short brown hair and a stocky build. He was last seen wearing brown scrubs, but deputies believe he has changed clothes since the escape.

“He is considered dangerous, and anyone with information about him or anyone who sees him should contact 911 immediately,” deputies said.

Johnson has a lengthy criminal history of burglarizing homes, stealing cars and eluding police.


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