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News / Nation & World

Idaho inmate and accomplice accused of helping him escape during hospital ambush are due in court

By MARK THIESSEN, Associated Press
Published: April 8, 2024, 7:24am

Two members of an Idaho white supremacist prison gang, including an inmate and the man accused of helping him escape in an armed ambush at a Boise hospital, are due in court for a preliminary hearing Monday, along with a woman accused of providing a vehicle they used during 36 hours on the run.

The inmate, Skylar Meade, and Nicholas Umphenour, who police say opened fire on corrections officers transporting Meade from the hospital last month, both have been charged in the escape, along with Tia Garcia, who is accused of falsely reporting her car stolen just after the attack.

Umphenour additionally faces three counts of aggravated battery on an officer and using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony, charges stemming from the ambush.

Meade and Umphenour, who are each being held on $2 million bail, also are suspected in the deaths of two men in Clearwater and Nez Perce counties, about a seven-hour drive north of where they were arrested in Twin Falls, Idaho.

The homicide victims have been identified as James L. Mauney, 83, of Juliaetta, Idaho, who was reported missing when he failed to return from walking his dogs, and Gerald Don Henderson, 72, who was found dead outside his remote cabin near Orofino, Idaho.

Henderson had taken in Umphenour for about a month when he was in his late teens, according to authorities. Police said Umphenour and Meade stole Mauney’s minivan and used it to get to the Twin Falls area.

Idaho Department of Correction officials have said Meade and Umphenour are members of the Aryan Knights white supremacist prison gang, which federal prosecutors have described as a “scourge” in the state’s penitentiary system.

Meade, 31, was serving 20 years at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution in Kuna, south of Boise, for shooting at a sheriff’s sergeant during a chase. Umphenour was released from the same lockup in January after serving time for theft and gun convictions.

The two were at times housed together and had mutual friends in and out of prison, officials said. Meade recently had been held in solitary confinement because officials deemed him a security risk.

The attack on the corrections officers came just after 2 a.m. on March 20 in the ambulance bay of Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Meade was brought to the hospital earlier in the night because he injured himself, officials said, but he refused treatment upon arrival.

Two corrections officers were wounded in the attack and a third was shot by responding police officers who mistook him for the gunman. All are expected to recover.

One other person has been charged in connection with the escape: Tonia Huber, who was driving the truck Meade was in when he was arrested, according to investigators. Huber has been charged with harboring a fugitive, eluding police and drug possession.

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