Mass. inmate uses nail clippers to dig hole in ceiling

No one has ever successfully broken out of one of the cells Angel Villanueva was in, used primarily for pretrial inmates


By Rebecca Everett
The Gazette

NORTHAMPTON — A Hampshire County Jail inmate accused of killing a poodle during an Easthampton burglary allegedly made his bid for freedom last month, using parts of a pair of nail clippers to dig through the concrete ceiling of his cell and create a 6-by-9-inch hole that opened into a crawl space.

Angel Villanueva, 38, of Springfield, pleaded not guilty in Northampton District Court Friday to charges of vandalism and attempting to escape a penal institution. Judge W. Michael Goggins ordered him held on $10,000 bail on the new charges, though Villanueva is already being held in the jail on a total of $40,000 bail on charges related to three break-ins.

Villanueva has been in the jail since October awaiting trial. He faces charges related to an Oct. 11, 2014, Huntington housebreak and subsequent police chase, and two September 2014 break-ins in Easthampton — including one in which he allegedly killed the homeowners’ toy poodle.

For now, Villanueva is being held in an isolation cell — a 30-day sanction imposed by the disciplinary board at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction. The board found him responsible for violating numerous jail rules in his attempted break, according to Patrick Cahillane, the jail’s assistant superintendent.

Cahillane said he does not know how long Villanueva was allegedly scraping away at the ceiling of his cell — but, he said, “it had to have taken awhile.”

Cahillane said no one has ever successfully broken out of one of the cells Villanueva was in, used primarily for pretrial inmates. “It is relatively rare in that most people realize that the cells in that part of the building are pretty well-constructed,” Cahillane said Friday. “But it does happen.”

Full story: Hampshire County Jail inmate charged with attempted jail break; allegedly used nail clippers to dig hole in ceiling

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