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Murderer makes dramatic hospital escape
But he's recaptured after stabbing four

Friday, March 23, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON AND LISA DONOVAN

A Cook County Jail inmate stabbed four people including the correctional officer accompanying him to a doctor's appointment at Stroger Hospital on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
No one was seriously hurt, and the inmate, convicted of murder this week, was back in jail Thursday night.
Just before 2 p.m., inmate Willis Reese, 25, outfitted with arm and leg shackles, was accompanied by the jail officer to the hospital's main building, at Ogden and Harrison, for a dermatology appointment, an inmate service that will get the ax as part of county budget cuts. Before the exam on the second floor, his handcuffs were removed, standard procedure if a doctor requests it, said Cook County sheriff's spokesman Bill Cunningham.
At one point, Reese asked to use a restroom, and the officer followed him. Suddenly, he turned and stabbed the officer in the neck with a shank -- a thin piece of metal up to five inches long, authorities said.
He then stabbed a nurse and a civilian standing nearby before running off, making his way down some stairs and outside, authorities said. There, the officer caught up with him, and the two briefly struggled before Reese broke free and climbed aboard a shuttle bus in the hospital driveway and stabbed the driver, who knocked him to the ground, officials said. Hospital police and Chicago detectives, alerted to what was unfolding, arrested Reese.
"They had him belly down over there in the grass, cuffing him," said a patient. She called the incident "scary."
How Reese got the shank was under investigation.
On Monday, Reese was convicted of pulling the trigger in a 2002 murder-for-hire slaying. In 2006, he was charged with attacking a correctional officer while at the jail.
''One of the things we want to discuss is, having patients like this, who are recently convicted, only sent to Stroger in the event of an emergency,'' Cunningham said. He pointed out that inmates like Reese, who is newly convicted, pose a high escape risk.


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