Escapee found on Marks farm

Published 10:21 am Sunday, April 22, 2012

CAPRON—An inmate accused of escaping from the Southampton County Jail faces several charges after he was found sleeping in a pickup on the Robert Marks farm in the Capron area, said Major Gene Drewery with the Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy spotted Sherman Hix, 47, inside the farm-use truck at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday off Pope Station Road. Hix refused to comply with deputies by not getting out of the truck, or putting his hands over his head, Drewery said.

“They used force necessary to effect the arrest,” he said without going into details. No one was hurt.

Deputies found a pocketknife on Hix, who left the jail at 5:10 a.m. Saturday through a back door in the kitchen area. Hix, who was in jail for stealing a riding lawnmower from a shed on Smiths Ferry Road, was a trustee with no history of assault or escape. He worked in the kitchen in the mornings, where a guard is on hand.

It’s believed Hix swam across the Nottoway River behind the jail, got out of the water and walked west.

Officials alerted residents by phone about the escape.

At least one resident reported seeing someone at mid-morning Saturday who matched the escapee’s description in the area of Buckhorn Quarter Road and Indian Woods Trail between Courtland and Capron.

A manhunt involving 100 officers continued throughout the day.

Hix is expected to be charged with escape, possession of a weapon by an inmate, resisting arrest and theft, Drewery said.

He indicated Hix stole items that belonged to the county.

“I would have to look up what he had with him,” Drewery said. “We’re not sure where the knife came from.”

According to court records, Hix was arrested in July for felony burglary and grand larceny. On April 3, he was sentenced to two years behind bars and ordered to pay $3,034 in restitution. At the time, he had a Franklin address, and Drewery indicated Hix has family in Como, N.C.

According to his Facebook profile, Hix lives in Portsmouth and is a tattoo artist with 17 years’ experience.

Also assisting in the search were the Virginia Department of Corrections, Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office and Franklin Police. Search dogs also were being used.