… Top Prisons Expert Recommends External Probe Into Osima Escape
An Island Times investigation uncovered court records suggesting convict Amador Osima was seen escaping his prison cell on two separate occasions in recent years, prior to this month’s shocking 6-day jail escape. In light of this track records of prior escape, one of the world’s most experienced former prison directors has recommended an independent review be conducted into the escape of Amador Osima from Koror Jail earlier this month.
According to court records dated December 5th 2013, Amador Osima “elected to plead Guilty to one count of Escape … and Obstruction of Justice”, in relation to a jail escape that took place on March 21st 2013. A judgement order states that “while a prisoner at Koror Jail, serving a lawfully imposed sentence, defendant did intentionally and without permission or justification, leave the jail facility.” After he had escaped the jail premises and fled into Koror town, “while he was attempting to evade capture, he did unlawfully interfere with a law enforcement officer, who was carrying out his duties, by virtue of his running away from officers, and by attempting to bite” a law enforcement officer who was trying to capture him. Osima was recaptured the same day at a local laundromat. After pleading guilty, Osima received a 30 month sentence of imprisonment for this prison escape. The sentence will run consecutively to his other sentences, which include a 30-year term of imprisonment for the second-degree murder of married Filipino migrant worker Virginia Ventura.
Osima’s guilty plea to those Escape and Obstruction of Justice charges came as part of a plea deal that allowed him to avoid trial in a separate criminal case concerning an unrelated escape attempt. In that additional criminal case, Amador Osima had been charged with Attempted Escape, as well as a charge of Malicious Mischief in relation to an earlier alleged jail-break attempt on February 11th 2013. As part of the plea agreement, the additional case was dismissed “with prejudice” in its entirety, along with another charge. ‘Dismissal with prejudice’ is a technical legal term that usually means the case is considered adjudicated and the charges cannot be brought before the court again. Quintessentially, it carries the same consequences as an an acquittal after a trial, except that a dismissal with prejudice normally occurs before a case goes to trial. As such, Amador Osima is fully innocent of having broken any criminal laws in regard to this alleged jail-break attempt on February 11th 2013.
What is remarkable about the two alleged jail escapes in 2013 though is not the fact that Osima attempted to escape; Dangerous prisoners across the world regularly attempt to flee incarceration, and dealing with that is part of the bread-and-butter routine of corrections officers anywhere. Far rather, what is stunning about Amador Osima’s escape attempts is the allegation that he was twice seen breaking out of his cell by simply using a heavy object to smash the lock on his door with blunt force.
Affidavits of Probable Cause written by investigating law enforcement officers and later presented to the judiciary give a highly detailed account of the means by which Osima was observed escaping his cell on two occasions in 2013; According to these Affidavits, another inmate “housed in the same unit as Osima” told investigating officers “that he saw Osima using [a] rebar to hit or strike his cell’s padlock, and later saw him walking around inside the hallway of the unit” during the February 11th 2013 escape attempt. A Division of Corrections Officer moreover testified to investigators that while there was a lock on Osima’s cell when dinner was being served at 4.45 pm, this “lock was gone” when the cell was rechecked at 10.30pm on that day “Osima was able to successfully escape his cell, but not his unit, at the jail”, the Affidavit states.
On the second occasion on March 21st, 2013, the relevant Affidavit states that a Division of Corrections officer “observed Osima on jail monitors in the act of breaking the padlock on his jail cell’. The Affidavit notes that “there is a square opening in the centre of Osima’s cell door and that Osima’s arm was observed hanging from the opening and striking the lock with an object“. On that occasion, in connection with which Osima received his 30-month sentence for Escape and Obstruction of Justice, Osima was able to leave the jail compound and was only recaptured at a local laundromat after a dramatic chase across Koror city that saw him attempt to bite an officer.
Osima’s most recent Prison escape from a solitary confinement cell at Koror Jail earlier this month is still under criminal investigation. In the absence of verified information about how Osima was able to exit his cell, the Island Times is refraining from publishing any speculations about how Osima was able to undertake his spectacular escape. Osima’s escape may be subject to judicial procedures. At this moment, the presumption of innocence fully applies to Osima in regard to any allegation of criminal wrongdoing in relation to this month’s prison-break.
Prison escapes are typically thought of as sophisticated endeavours, often involving underground tunnelling or physically-taxing Houdini-style tricks. But here at Koror Jail, Osima appears to have been seen comfortably exiting his cell by the front door twice using merely the crude power of his hands and an everyday heavy object.
In a statement to the Island Times, Kevin Lockyer, a UK-based top expert on prison management raised serious concerns regarding Osima`s history of escapes.
The expert, who is a member of the International Corrections and Prisons Association, has personal experience of running some of the world’s toughest prisons. Lockyer served in the 1990s as Deputy Governor at Belmarsh Prison in South London. Belmarsh is one of the most well known prisons globally: It is Britain’s most high-profile maximum-security prison and houses some of the most notorious terrorists, air-plane hijackers, serial killers and paedophiles in human history. After serving as deputy governor at Belmarsh, Lockyer went on to become governor of Portland Young Offenders Institution and then governor of Bristol Prison, before retiring from the Civil Service. Lockyer holds a Cambridge University qualification relating to criminology and has testified in front of a British House of Commons committee.
Lockyer suggested that the fact that Osima was twice seen escaping his cell by breaking the lock using blunt force “sounds like both a failure of prison design and management”.
He also stated to the Island Times that, in his experience, it is unusual for prisoners to be able to reach the lock on their cell and also unusual for padlocks to be used in a correctional facility. He explained; “As to cell locks, the design with which I am familiar (in the UK) allows prisoners no access to the lock while the cell door is closed. The lock is integral to the door and only accessible from the exterior. Padlocks are not used. Even if the cell observation hatch was left open, the prisoner would not be able to reach the lock mechanism and no amount of blunt force impact on the interior of the door would damage the lock (and one would hope that blunt force impact sufficiently forceful to damage the cell door would be heard by staff!).” “
Lockyer suggested that Osima’s escapes and escape attempts require a thorough investigation conducted by investigators from outside of the Division of Corrections. He told the Island Times “I would certainly have thought that an external review would be necessary to get to the bottom of the matter.”
In 2013, Amador Osima was found guilty of second degree murder over the brutal machete killing of Virginia Ventura, a married Filipino migrant worker. Prior to carrying out the murder, Osima had threatened a number of other persons, mainly individuals of foreign origin, and had been witnessed telling a Palauan citizen “If you weren’t Palauan, I’d kill you”. Osima was not charged with any bias crime charges or charge aggravations over the murder, but his avowed intention to kill non-Palauan persons very strongly suggests his crime was motivated by racial hatred.
On a separate occasion, Osima also pled guilty to sodomising a 5-year old Palauan girl, penetrating her anus and mouth with his penis in a viciously brutal January 2011 attack that left the child victim with serious injuries requiring hospitalisation as well as with a sexually transmitted infection. Sentencing-related judicial records filed by the Republic state that “the court also found that the charged offences showed a level of planning beyond the Defendant’s age, pointing out that … [the] defendant hid and waited until opportunity arose, enticing a five year old girl into trusting him, and moved her to a secluded spot where he could attack when the coast was clear”. Osima committed the murder of Virginia Ventura while awaiting trial for this paedophile crime.
Despite being a young man in his 20s, Osima has a long criminal rap-sheet, dating back as far as 2006. At the time, he first ran into trouble with the law over allegedly breaking into as well as aiding and abetting arson at a Seventh Day Adventist educational facility. (Investigation/Colin C. Cortbus)