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Boise prison escape suspects indicted on charge of killing 83-year-old Idaho man

Skylar Meade and Nicholas Umphenour, right, appeared in 4th District Court via video conference on Monday, March 25, 2024, to be arraigned on charges stemming from an organized prison break while being transported to a Boise hospital. | Darin Oswald, Idaho Statesman
(Idaho Statesman) — Officials have pressed charges against an Idaho prisoner who escaped from custody following an ambush at a Boise hospital and his accomplice in connection to the death of a North Idaho man.
Nicholas Umphenour, 28, and Skylar Meade, 31, were indicted by a Nez Perce grand jury Tuesday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of 83-year-old James Mauney, of Juliaetta, according to a news release from the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office.
If prosecutors find there are aggravating factors, they could plan to seek the death penalty in the men’s cases.
Mauney didn’t return home after a morning walk with his dogs, which prompted the Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office to issue a missing person alert. Police said they later found his body in a “desolate area” near Leland, about 10 miles east of Juliaetta, north of Lewiston.
Police have said they suspect Umphenour and Meade of being involved in two homicides after they found Mauney and another North Idaho man killed while the two suspects were at large. Authorities said Umphenour and Meade coordinated an attack on correction officers at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, where Meade had been transported to treat self-inflicted injuries. The two men escaped in a vehicle and had driven through North Idaho, where the two homicides occurred, before they were caught in the Twin Falls area, police said.
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“These indictments are the first step in the process of seeking justice for James Mauney,” Nez Perce Prosecutor Justin Coleman said in a news release. “We have a long way to go to reach the conclusion we want and will continue to work diligently with law enforcement agencies throughout the state to ensure we have the strongest case possible to present.”

Liliia Mauney holds a picture of her husband, James Mauney, from 1980 in their Juliaetta home in March 2024. James Mauney, 83, was killed after he disappeared on a dog walk in Juliaetta. Police say two men involved in a Boise prison escape are suspects in his death. | Alex Duggan, Spokesman Review
Three Idaho Department of Correction officers transported Meade to the Boise hospital in the evening of March 19. By 2 a.m. the next morning, the officers were taking Meade back into the prison van when Umphenour approached them and began shooting, striking two of the officers, Boise Police Violent Crimes Detective Matthew Canfield said during a preliminary hearing.
A third correction officer was shot and injured by a 12-year veteran of the Boise Police Department, according to the police agency. All three officers have since been released from the hospital and are recovering.
Police searched for Umphenour and Meade for 36 hours as they traveled nearly 1,000 miles in an almost full circle around the state, then drove through Missoula, Montana, before authorities found them in Twin Falls County by surveilling a residential area in Filer, about 15 minutes west, according to prior reporting and an affidavit of probable cause filed by the Twin Falls Police Department.

Nicholas Umphenour and Skylar Meade are under investigation for several crimes, including the homicides of two men. | Alex Brizee, Idaho Statesman
The pair were spotted in separate cars leaving the neighborhood when an FBI agent began pursuing Meade and the driver of the vehicle, 52-year-old Twin Falls resident Tonia Huber. Huber was charged with several felonies, including harboring a fugitive. Meade and Huber were arrested at a Walgreens parking lot in Twin Falls following a pursuit. Umphenour, who was driving one of the homicide victim’s vehicles, was also arrested in the area, state police said.
A fourth suspect, 27-year-old Tia Garcia, of Twin Falls, was arrested roughly a week later and accused of aiding and abetting the men’s escape.
Both Umphenour and Meade who are members of the white supremacist gang Aryan Knights, were served the indictments Wednesday, according to the prosecution’s release. They will be held on the charges without bond and brought to the 2nd Judicial Court in Nez Perce County “to answer for the murder at a later date,” the release said. In the past few months, Meade and Umphenour have been in custody at the Ada County Jail on several charges related to the prison escape.
Meade pleaded guilty to felony escape and a persistent violator enhancement but didn’t enter pleas on two other enhancements, prompting the judge to schedule a hearing later this month on how to proceed, the Idaho Statesman previously reported.
Umphenour has been scheduled for an Oct. 21 jury trial on seven charges after 4th District Judge Nancy Baskin entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf, the Statesman reported. He’s facing a persistent violator enhancement along with six felonies: three counts of an aggravated assault or battery upon certain personnel; one count of escaping prison; one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and an enhancement for using that weapon in the commission of a felony, court records showed.

Nicholas Umphenour, the man who is accused of helping an Idaho inmate escape from prison at a local hospital, appears in 4th District Court for his arraignment at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise. | Darin Oswald, Idaho Statesman
Idaho State Police in a news release said troopers are still investigating the killing of 72-year-old Gerald “Don” Henderson. The man was found in his cabin near Orofino after his partner asked for a welfare check around 8 p.m. March 20, the same day of the ambush. Idaho State Police spokesperson Aaron Snell declined to comment on specifics related to Henderson’s investigation.
“ISP extends gratitude to the involved agencies supporting the investigations and the public for their support,” the release said.

The post Boise prison escape suspects indicted on charge of killing 83-year-old Idaho man appeared first on East Idaho News.

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