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5 face charges of helping escaped Mo. inmate

The felony obstruction of justice charges were filed Monday

Associated Press

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Five people have been charged with allegedly helping a man escape from Bozeman police after he was arrested on suspicion of attempted rape.

The felony obstruction of justice charges were filed Monday.

The allegations stem from the Feb. 1 escape Kevin Anthony Briggs, 28. He was arrested in Portland, Ore., after a three-week regional manhunt. He has pleaded not guilty to attempted rape, aggravated assault, assault on a peace officer and escape.

Prosecutors allege after Briggs escaped the Law and Justice Center in Bozeman he went to the nearby apartment of Tristan Anacker and Andrew Kranker. Charging documents say Cedric Standish-Codding cut off Briggs’ handcuffs and leg restraints, gave him a coat and $23.

Prosecutors say Sherry Jackson threw the restraints in a Dumpster and monitored news coverage of the escape and that William Michael Smith gave Briggs a ride to Missoula.

None of the five has entered pleas. It’s unclear if they have attorneys yet.

Court records said Briggs told the five that police had beaten him up, but more than one of them acknowledged seeing a text message from Montana State University about the reported assault that led to Briggs’ arrest.

“They made statements to us about what Mr. Briggs had told them,” Detective Dana McNeil said. Still, he said, “it was pretty evident that they were aware that he was in trouble with law enforcement.”

Despite the news coverage of Briggs’ escape, the alleged accomplices did not report their involvement in his escape.

“They did not come forward, this was the result of an investigation that identified them,” McNeil said.

McNeil said Bozeman police are working with U.S. Marshals to determine what other kind of help Briggs might have had while he was on the run.