State inmate accused of aiding escape from county jail

A prison inmate with multiple felony convictions has been arrested on suspicion that he helped a man escape the Mesa County Jail.

Rodney Clark Price, 31, was brought to Grand Junction from the Colorado Department of Corrections on Thursday. Mesa County Judge Gretchen Larson advised him in court Friday that he could be charged with aiding in an escape, conspiracy to assist in an escape and introduction of contraband.

Larson ordered Price to continue to be held on $100,000 bond. He is expected to be formally charged Wednesday.

The details surrounding 40-year-old Shane Johnson’s escape Sept. 9 remain unknown because court documents are sealed. Mesa County Sheriff’s Department officials have said that Johnson slipped away from the facility after hiding in a covered exercise yard.
Johnson was slated to be sentenced to what amounted to life in prison the following week for a 2006 burglary and auto theft crime spree.

He and his wife, 46-year-old Marilynne Ann Johnson of Colorado Springs, were arrested Jan. 10 in Mexico. Marilynne Johnson also is suspected of helping her husband escape. Both remain in custody in Mexico, and it’s unclear when either will return to Mesa County to face charges here.

Price’s arrest affidavit also remains sealed, so his suspected role in the escape is unknown.

“He was in and out of jail,” Mesa County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather
Benjamin said. “Where he helped (Johnson) along the road, I don’t know.”

Price has been arrested roughly 20 times on the Western Slope since 2000, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records. He was sentenced in November to four years in prison for assault and 18 months for use of a controlled substance. It wasn’t known whether he is serving those sentences concurrently or consecutively.

Department of Corrections spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti said she couldn’t immediately access information about Price.


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