Men claiming to be Illinois inmates explain how they escaped custody


FULTON COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — During the early afternoon Thursday, two men claiming to be Jessie Davis and Cody Villalobas from the Fulton County Jail called the WMBD-TV/WYZZ newsroom. The two men shared how they say they escaped and why they said they did it.

When the first call came in just before noon, WMBD Assignment Manager Mary Gordon answered the call and started a discussion with the man who identified as Davis.

We asked permission to begin recording the call. What follows has been transcribed below.

JESSIE: That’s perfectly fine. Well, we’re currently on “23 and 1” right now, and I’m next door to Zach Hart and Cody Villalobas. Well, they’re not answering questions as far as to how we got out due to the fact that it was their fault that we got out. This follows along the lines of negligence and recklessness in 720, IOC 5/47.

MARY: Jessie, what can you tell me about how you got out?

JESSIE: Okay. What I want to tell you about how we got out is [it was] due to negligence. There was insufficiency with the dorm, [which] is how it all started. Two inmates had got hurt, Zach Hart being one of them. Like a 300-pound table had been unbolted from the floor about three weeks prior before he even came. So, once the table fell on him and broke his clavicle, [turns to Hart] what was it, a clavicle fracture? Yeah, it was a clavicle fracture. He had come back, and then another inmate, Otis Clarence, it had broke, [turns away again] what did break on Otis? Second medical [inaudible] what was it? First and second medical [inaudible]…whatever that is. Basically, it broke his whole hand. So it took two inmates getting injured for them to move us to another unit that wasn’t livable, we were not supposed to be in there. They moved us to this other unit, A Block. There had been a table that actually Eugene Roets, I can say that he did it because it’s already on record that he had done it. There was a toilet a year prior to us even moving in there, so they hadn’t been fixed the toilet for a whole year. Well, this toilet, you could just — it wasn’t bolted to the wall or anything. You could pick it up, move it, do whatever you wanted to it, and I mean, it was just going to be that. So behind this toilet that wasn’t bolted to the wall or anything, there’s a catwalk. On the catwalk, there’s the hatch which leads down, so in order for them to come up and fix the toilet or anything in that area, they had to come up a ladder. Well, the hatch was left open. There was a hole in the wall behind the toilet which led to a catwalk. The catwalk leads to a hatch. The hatch was left open, the toilet was not secured to the wall or anything. In the basement was the door to the garage that was just open, unlocked, and that’s how we got out.

MARY: Okay. Did any of you guys get injured getting out or anything like that?

JESSIE: I don’t know if anyone was injured upon getting out, but Cody V says his pride is hurt because he feels as if it was like entrapment, that they just let us out, and they wanted us to get out or what, because like I said, the toilet wasn’t bolted to the wall or anything. So we weren’t even supposed to be in that cell at all. There [were] supposed to be no occupants to occupy that space.

MARY: So let me see if I understand this, you guys were moved to a different cell than normal because there was a big table that was broken, and then you broke out of the cell that you weren’t supposed to be in?

JESSIE: Yeah, no one was supposed to occupy the space, so we didn’t necessarily break out. I mean, we just there’s evidence tape on the toilet that said: “DO NOT USE.” It didn’t have any running water to the toilet. There were no pipes hooked up to the toilet or anything of that nature. So there wasn’t a break-out, we just simply moved it to the side and crawled out the hole.

MARY: Okay, and all four of you did this, right? You were all four in the same place?

JESSIE: No, three of us were in the same place, and Eugene Roets was in B Block, which is right next door.

MARY: Okay, Were there any like deputies or anything like that that helped you guys along this way? Did they say, “That toilet is broke,” or did you guys come up with this all on your own?

JESSIE: No, they knew that the toilet was broken. I mean, like I said, it had been broken for a year without them even trying to fix it.

MARY: But there wasn’t any deputy that said, “That toilet is broke, don’t use it” or something like that?

JESSIE: Yeah, I mean, they all did. It was like, “Okay, we can’t lock you guys back because that toilet’s broken. [inaudible] knew it was broken. Standard knew it was broken. Everyone knew that the toilet wasn’t supposed to be used as it was. I mean, there was no running water, so they couldn’t lock us back in our cells.

MARY: So, you guys get out. Kind of tell me [about it], you go out this toilet you go on the catwalk, you get to the garage and you just kind of walk away from the jail, is that what happens?

JESSIE: Yes, just walk out, I mean, there’s no door [that] was locked, no alarm was on any door, no cameras. Basically, just negligence and recklessness at its finest on their end. Like I said, we kind of think it was entrapment.

MARY: Why do you think it was entrapment? Explain that to me a little bit.

JESSIE: Due to the fact that it was just, I mean, them knowing that we weren’t supposed to be in that cellblock period in the first place. Like it’s like they were like, “Okay, we’re going to put you guys over here to see if you guys can find your way out, and if you find a way out, then hey, I guess you just found your way out,” you know? And then they consider us armed and dangerous knowing damn well that, come on, no one had a gun. No one intended to hurt anyone. Like, I mean, it wasn’t a plan to say, “Hey, we’re going to go out here and the first person we see we’re going to jump on.” We’re not bad people. We just make bad decisions.

MARY: Alright, so you guys just walked away from the jail, too. You didn’t take, like, a squad car? Or there wasn’t somebody that picked you up or anything like that, right?

JESSIE: No, we just simply walked out the door that was open and unlocked. I mean, we just walked away from the jail, casually walked away from the jail. No one caught any new charges. They’re saying we’re all criminals. Oh, these are known criminals. These are known they’re convicts. Yeah, no, we, some of us actually do live an upstanding life. We just make bad decisions, you know? I’m a kid lover. Kids love the hell out of me. I mean, Zachary Hart, saying Cody V he has like five nephews and nieces. They love the hell out of him. You know? So? Yeah, we wasn’t actually a threat to the community. And they’re actually still trying to fix that problem now. So…

MARY: What was it like once you get out? You guys walked away from the jail. Then where’d you go? Can you talk to us about even about your capture and things like that? Are you willing to talk about that? 

JESSIE: [turns away] Should I talk about capture or what? Sure, what was the question again? 

MARY: So you guys walk away from the jail? About what time did you walk away? Was it daytime, was it nighttime, you know, after dinner? Can you give me, like, about the time that you walked out?

JESSIE: It was about six 6-6:30. [turns away] you’d say? 6-6:30 Right? Between 6 and 6:50. Yeah. And like I said, the deputies were just riding off. 

MARY: And that was in the evening?

JESSIE: Excuse me? 

MARY: That was in the evening, like six o’clock at night. 

JESSIE: Yes, ma’am. 

MARY: Okay. 

JESSIE: And they didn’t know until like midnight that we had actually walked out of the jail, so that’s about five hours. That’s negligence in itself right there for failing to check on the convict slash inmates or whatever. Your detainees that you have in your jail, you know?

MARY: Yeah, okay. So you’re out of jail. You walk away from the jail. Where do you guys go from here? Explain to me, you know the next couple of hours, the next day you know, where do you guys kind of go from there?

JESSIE: Within the next couple hours, actually, we found, me and Cody V and Eugene, we actually found a house down the street, like right down the street from here and went and changed our clothes. We changed our clothes, put on a hat. And after that, we just walked out of that house and I mean, just walk the streets, found our way to Peoria. Upon capture, Cody V says that they slammed him on his [explicit]. I mean, excuse me, [turns away] slammed you on your head? Slammed him on his head, neck, and shoulder called him all kinds of “[explicit], [explicit] and you know [explicit].” [turns away] I don’t think I can say that. But yeah, they just called him all kinds of profound, profane language you know when it came to degrading the person. 

MARY: Okay, where were you captured at Jesse? I can’t remember I’m sorry. 

JESSIE: I was actually captured on, I think it was Loose Bruce road, or Old Spruce Road. I was about three and a half four miles from Norris actually. 

MARY: Okay. 

JESSIE: And Cody V was captured on [turns away] Route 116? Route Highway 116 Route 116. However, that’s called right there. But we really want to… go ahead.

MARY: The cell that you were in that you weren’t supposed to be in, what’s the name of that cell? Was that cell A, cell B? Can you tell me what the name of it is?

JESSIE: Yeah, it’s cell A. It’s cell block A.

MARY: Okay, and where were you guys originally at before they put you in cellblock A?

JESSIE: We was originally in the dorm. They moved us to cellblock A to fix the table that had been broken. I don’t know how long, I mean, it was broken before I got there, man, Eugene Roets used to actually bench press the table. Guards knew that the table was broken. Still didn’t come in and fix it because they came to the door at one point in time, doing a round and I was under the table benching it, and there was like who’s under the table? You know how’d the table get broken? No one knew how I got broken there. I mean, I didn’t anyway, because I had just gotten there. I just knew I was needing some recreation. So I got up under it and I was benching it.

MARY: And you said right now they give you a 23 and 1? Explain that to me a little bit.

JESSIE: 23 and 1 means we’re in the cell 23 hours a day. We’re only out one, and they just moved us here because a couple guys, one guy said he’s going to kill himself. Not one of us. Neither Zach or Cody. But someone that had came in. They basically needed the holding cells that they had us in. So 23 and 1 is basically, we were on lockdown 23 hours a day, we get out one, which we get to use the phone or get to take a shower. Before that we was on 24-hour lockdown with no shower, no nothing, you know, no phone, no access to the outside world. They-

AUTOMATED VOICE: This call will be terminated in two minutes. 

JESSIE: They took our chirps as well, which is devices that we use to text our families, friends or whoever might be able to get the word out on how it all happened. Then they came in took those back from us, deactivated and said we wasn’t getting those back. Because we was talking about how we actually got out, you know?

MARY: Okay, Cody, I think our call or sorry, Jesse, I think our call is gonna be stopped here in just a minute. Is there anything finally you’d like to tell me or anything?

JESSIE: I really want you to know that, aside from everything that the news or Jeff Standard, or Dan Daly tries to make us seem like, this is negligence and recklessness at its finest on their end. I’ve been in the system, I don’t know how long and they don’t even have my name spelled right. I’m under the wrong social. 

AUTOMATED VOICE: This call will be terminated in one minute. 

JESSIE: We’re never going to get a fair trial in Fulton County because the judge automatically, he goes along with whatever the state’s attorney was. So we’re not going to get a fair trial. Even he’ll see that it’s food poisoning. And the only way for us to get food is through them and he’ll still overlook it. You know, we’re not bad people, man. We just made bad decisions. That’s all, that’s it.

MARY: All right, Jesse. What cell Are you in now? Can you tell me that?

JESSIE: H Block. We’re in H Block on 23 and 1.

MARY: Okay. All right, Jesse. Like I said, we’re going to be cut off here.

JESSIE: They’re probably going to take our phone privileges for this too. So, but I mean, it was worth getting the word out. We’re not bad people. Negligence and recklessness on their end. They failed to fix whatever the problem was that allowed us to do whatever we did. That’s point-blank period.

Below is the transcription and full call from the man who identified as Cody Villalobas. WMBD’s Shelbey Roberts held the discussion.

CODY: Hello?

MARY: Hello, this is the WMBD newsroom.

CODY: Yes, ma’am. Is this the lady that Jessie Davis spoke to you just a little while ago?

MARY: Yes, sir, it is. May I ask who I’m speaking with?

CODY: You’re speaking with Cody Villalobas. I’m currently here with Jessie and Zachary Hart as well. Still.

MARY: Jessie, I’m going to record this call, okay?

CODY: I was just calling to ask, is there any questions that you needed answered or wanted answered? Is there anything else that you needed to know?

MARY: Well, what do you have that you can tell us? We’re recording this. One of my reporters is here. She’s going to talk to you for a minute, too. Okay?

CODY: Yes, ma’am.

SHELBEY: Hi, Cody. This is Shelbey Roberts. So, we got a little bit of insight before from Jessie. Tell me, I mean, tell me what did you think was going to happen when you guys left?

CODY: I honestly thought like, when we left, I honestly thought it was, my 100% opinion, I thought they just let us out to just kind of shoot us, to be honest, you know? Because we, that was just my honest opinion. I was like because it was too… was just trying to get rid of us type deal. You know what I’m saying like that’s exactly my 100% opinion.

SHELBEY: So my follow-up to you and I’m sorry, I’m just being very to the point. Why would you leave if you thought they were going to shoot you? Why would you up and leave, or you know, just not instinctually think that it was a mistake?

CODY: After we already got out, well, we just we kind of just I just was like, ‘Man, this right here, this is crazy.’ It was just, the way it happened is just so, I guess, staged? I guess, for lack of better words. Like I feel like that was it was just staged like why would you put us in a cellblock that we’re not even supposed to be in that when you walk up and touch the toilet, it just falls off the wall. And you just sit there and look inside of a dark hole and wonder, you know, what in the hell’s going on? So by the time I got out, and you know, we just kind of looked at each other, like, why the hell and how the hell is it happening? Like, what is their purpose of this?

SHELBEY: So did you guys all know each other beforehand? Was it just in the moment we’re going to run? Was it a plan?

CODY: It was definitely not a plan. It was a spur-of-the-moment type of deal, you know what I’m saying? We were just, we sat in the cell for, you know, 24 hours. And yes, we did. We do know each other outside of here, you know, that’s kind of, we all grew up in Fulton County. So I mean.

SHELBEY: Oh, no. So when you guys took off, I mean, walk me through, you find the sufficiency and then you take off… what happens next?

CODY: Basically, what she said was when we did take off, she said, walk me through, you know, this, what happened next after we got out, you know. We just walked out. I mean, when we walked out we… like the garage door was wide open. Like that’s what really just baffled us. When we walked out, we just walked down the road. We knew of somebody that used to live there, but they had abandoned the house. We went inside because the door was unlocked, and you know, and we hollered for them and there were clothes we just threw on some clothes and a hat, and we just started walking, we didn’t really know what to do. We just was just we, to be honest, we were scared to death.

SHELBEY: So you all just decided to split up or stay together, and you got split up. How did that work?

CODY: At first we stayed together. Hart was the only one that did split up. And I mean, we just, we honestly like I said being so so scared that what we just experienced was, it wasn’t even real. We just, we just stayed together. We did get split up. It was completely by accident, really. Except for Hart, you know, he kinda went on his own way.

SHELBEY: Can you tell us just for our information. When were you guys back in court?

CODY: When do we go back to court?

SHELBEY:  When were you last in court? What were your court proceedings like?

CODY: We was last in court Wednesday, and we actually left the holding cell which was 24 hour lockdown. No TVs, no phones, no way that, no pencils, or pens to actually communicate with the outside world. And then when we did come out of the holding cell, we went to video court which is still inside the jail, and they handcuffed us and shackled us just to go to video court with two deputies.

SHELBEY: So when did you guys officially escape? There was some back and forth as to when you guys got out?

CODY: To be honest with you, it was literally 6:30, and they actually do routine checks every 30 minutes. They come by, and they do routine checks on the jail, so by the time that we got out and the time that they noticed, they probably did, I don’t know, 10 checks, 15 checks. An inmate actually even picked up Hart’s medication for him, and they didn’t even notice, you know what I’m saying, they’re like ‘Hey, they called for his for Hart, for his medication’ at 9:15 which is Medline. And they gave the medication to another person and didn’t even, still didn’t even realize.

SHELBEY: So I guess in all of this, I mean, do you have any remorse you had a lot of people that were very very scared when this call went out that you guys were on the run. Do you have anything to say about that?

CODY: Yes ma’am we all, we all do. Like I said, we was all, they put us out there, they gave us an image that was actually very untrue. They, if you look at my background, I have no violence in my background. If you want me to be completely honest with you, I’m a drug addict, okay? I have zero violence. There’s no violence in my background, period. I have no aggravated charges. I have no batteries. I have nothing of the sort I have drug charges. And yes, yes, I am very sorry. And I know what happened, it was wrong. But if you put people in a cage, and you leave them there all day long and then a chance like that just happens, we don’t even, you didn’t even have time to think about it, you know? And to be honest, you say that the public was scared, well the public didn’t know, we was more scared. We didn’t catch no charges, none of us caught any charges while we were out, except for that one escape. You understand? So if we were really armed and dangerous and all this, and we’re hardened criminals, why didn’t we do something? Why didn’t we rob somebody? Why didn’t we steal somebody’s vehicle? You know what I’m saying? We was more scared of the public than the public was of us.

SHELBEY: Why not just stay in the jail if you see a malfunction like that, why not just stay?

CODY: To be honest with you, like I said, if we’re housed in here, and all we got is four walls to look at, if we don’t go to court, we don’t see outside. So if they set our court date out eight months, we won’t even see daylight for eight months. And just to be sitting in the cell reminiscing. Just talking, just shooting the shit and then this toilet just fall off the wall and we’re looking into a hole, we’re like, ‘Holy shit, dude. Like let’s go see what it is.’ And then it just led to like kids on an adventure, like it just led to another door that was already wide open down the ladder. And when we see daylight from the garage door, and we’re not going to turn the knob and it just open, there were no gates, there was a sidewalk leading straight to the road and that was that. We didn’t even think, there was no thinking.

SHELBEY: Okay, is there anything else that I missed that you want to make sure we know about?

CODY: Is there anything else that they missed that we want them to know about? Basically, basically, we hate the people that the public put us out to be. We really are not. I mean, like I said our actions would go to show. You can ask them COs up here. There was a CO that come in because due to a fight in the block, and you want to know what that CO had told them? The CO would told the sheriff’s office, they said she, I don’t know if I should say her name or not, but she actually told the cops upfront that she didn’t feel in danger in no way when she went into the dorm because she knew that I myself being one of the people would protect her if anything were to go down go wrong.

SHELBEY: All right now have you guys called other media outlets as well?

CODY: No, ma’am, just y’all.

SHELBEY: Alright, well, I think we’ve got all the information. I do appreciate you sharing your side of the story. Can I get you to just confirm your first and last name and then spell it for me?

CODY: Yes, ma’am. This is Cody, Villalobas. C-O-D-Y, my middle initial is C, my last name is Villalobas. V as in Victor, I-L-L-A-L-O-B as in Boy-A-S. Cody C. Villalobas. And also another inmate had been injured in here. I’m not quite sure. But, Dale Tovery was also injured in here and nothing was done, you know? But yes, ma’am, we just want them, we want the public to know, like, we ain’t these people, you know? Negligence and recklessness on the jails part. We’re not trying to say what we did was not, not wrong. It’s not justifiable. No, but, you know what if we weren’t in the same sense, as a contradiction, we wasn’t also in the wrong, you know what I mean? If you put a dog in a cage for five days, and then you leave the door open, what’s that dog going to do?

SHELBEY: Tell me your middle name one more time.

CODY: I’m sorry. What was that?

SHELBEY: Sure, tell me your middle name one more time.

CODY: Cheyenne. It’s C-H-E-Y-E-N-N-E. Cody Cheyenne Villalobas.

SHELBEY: Okay, gotcha, well I think that’s all…

CODY: I’d also like the public to know like, like the legal system here is wishy washy. They’re corrupt. I don’t feel like we’ll have a fair trial here. None of us feel like, none of us feel like Jessie Davis, Zachary Hart. None of us feel like there’s going to be a fair trial on our behalf, with or without a paid lawyer. Some of us can’t even afford a paid lawyer. So we’re even more at, you know… due to our actions, you know? The judge is just going to side with the state’s attorney, and they’re just going to keep us in the crossfire. Do you know what I’m saying? Until we take what they want us to take in, I feel like that’s unfair, that’s unjust. A venue, a change of venue would be awesome. I don’t know if you can help or put that word out there for us. We also, we hope that we advanced your career giving you this information. You are the only one we have talked to, and we love all, Eugene Roets. We love him, he’s in the BOC right now, in Fayetteville, and we are sorry for what we have done and people make mistakes, but you know what? We also have a heart, we also have a mind, we’re still human beings, you know? And a fair trial is really what we asked, you know what I’m saying? Because they shouldn’t even have put us in the system.

SHELBEY: Well, Cody I do appreciate your time…

CODY: And you know, Zach said he’s not sorry because he don’t feel like what he did was wrong. And to be honest, I don’t,  I can second that motion in a way because, like I said, we didn’t do anything. We, like I said, if we’re some hardened criminal, and we’re armed and dangerous, tell me why was there no violence? Why was there no violence?

OPERATOR: This call will be terminated in two minutes.

SHELBEY: Is there anything else Cody that I didn’t get to that you think is important about sharing your side?

CODY: Is there anything else anything else that she…  there’s a video of even Zach pleading for a ride, you know? There’s a video going around and he’s saying, he’s pleading, you know, for help. And telling him, you know, he’s not armed, he’s not dangerous. And I’m pretty sure he was in his boxers. You know, you could tell you could tell he’s not armed and dangerous. He just pleaded for a ride, and you know, he, we needed help. We all did. Jessie’s knocking on doors. I was walking down, I was caught in a backyard drinking water out of a hose.

SHELBEY: And just to confirm, who were we talking to earlier?

CODY: Jessie Davis is who he was talking to earlier.

SHELBEY: Okay. Okay, Cody…

OPERATOR: This call will be terminated in one minute.

SHELBEY: You’ve given us a lot of information to dissect, so I do appreciate your time.

CODY: Yes, ma’am. You’re very much welcome. And we lost a lot of financial assistance. You know what I’m saying? The people that was helping us a little bit now ghosted us. We don’t have no help, period. You know, we’re in here and they they got us locked down. We got on a million-dollar bond. How are we supposed to post a million-dollar bond? You know what I’m saying, none of us are millionaires. And you’re very welcome for this information. We appreciate you listening to us. We do appreciate it. We hope we help each other.

SHELBEY: Thank you. Take care.

CODY: Yes, ma’am. you too.

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