A Paintsville man who was arrested in January after an escape from police custody after a court hearing was sentenced in Johnson County Circuit Court Friday to serve 10 years in prison.

According to Johnson County Commonwealth Attorney Anthony Skeans, Matthew Owens, 44, of Paintsville, was one of a pair of individuals who escaped from police custody while being transported to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center after court, because he was unhappy that he did not receive a bond. Owens will serve a 10-year sentence, Skeans said, but will be eligible for parole in four and a half years.

“(Owens) was a guy that, when we arraigned him on his trafficking charge, he got mad that he didn’t get a bond,” Skeans said. “So, on the way back to the jail, him and another man ran. They captured him, took him to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, and when they get there, he escapes from them again.

He took 10 years on all of those charges today,” Skeans said Friday after court.

Officer Zachary Mitchell with the Paintsville Police Department said at the time of the incident that Owens and Jason Lee Mollette, 30, of Paintsville, were both on their way back from court dates on Jan. 17 when they escaped custody.

According to court documents, Mollette had been facing sentencing in Johnson County Circuit Court on charges of third-degree assault of a police/probation officer, second-degree fleeing or evading police, third-degree criminal mischief, second-degree disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, public intoxication (controlled substance) and menacing, as well as a probation revocation hearing in another case. Owens was to be arraigned for first-degree complicity to trafficking (two grams or more of methamphetamine), first-degree complicity to wanton endangerment and complicity to possession of drug paraphernalia.

Owens was detained near Ky. 40 behind Bob Evans, Mitchell said.

Mollette, on the other hand, escaped into Paint Creek, with a detention center employee in pursuit, Mitchell said, which eventually led to both Mollette and his pursuer being submerged in the water.

Both inmates were taken to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center for evaluation and clearance before being taken back to jail, but Mitchell said Owens staged another escape from the hospital before fleeing to Cemetery Road and allegedly breaking into a residence. Owens was allegedly arrested again in a bedroom of that residence.

Owens then allegedly attempted a third escape from custody in the backseat of a police car before being taken out, resecured and taken to BSRDC with medical clearance, Mitchell said.

“This entire operation involved the cooperation of the Paintsville Police Department, Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police, a constable, and the staff of Big Sandy Regional Detention Center,” Mitchell said at the time. “It took everybody working together. We flooded this city with police and got them back in custody.”

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