Murder suspect, Lerdo jail escapee pleads not guilty

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A man accused in the killing of 3-year-old Major Sutton and escaping custody from the Lerdo Justice Center this week entered a not guilty plea in court Friday.

David Palms, 22, pleaded not guilty in a Bakersfield courtroom to a count of escaping jail while charged with a felony and a count of damage to a prison or jail over $400.

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office said Palms and Tyrone Johnson, 24, escaped from the Lerdo Justice Facility early Wednesday morning. Palms was arrested hours later in Shafter; Johnson remains at-large.

17 News asked the sheriff’s office how Palms and Johnson managed to escape the maximum security wing of the Lerdo Pre-trial Facility, but only said the investigation remains active and they’re looking at any potential structural or security failures within the facility.

Palms and Johnson are accused in the 2017 murder of Major Sutton. The 3-year-old was shot and killed shortly before midnight on Nov. 10, 2017 when gunmen kicked down the door of his family’s home and opened fire. His pregnant mother and then-5-year-old brother were wounded.

Palms was not granted bail at the Friday hearing and is due back in court on June 1.

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