Convicted killer found after nearly a month on the run

By Nick Kenney - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A convicted killer who was on the run for nearly a month was found early Wednesday.

Dearick Stokes, 21, was on trial for murder when he simply walked out of the Criminal Justice Center.

Investigators said Stokes was one of two gunmen who robbed, shot and killed Brian Hatchett in his car on Warren Street in July, 2008.

Early last month, Stokes went on trial in Criminal Court Division 5.  Moments before the jury was to read the verdict, Stokes told Defense Attorney Marvin Ballin he needed to use the restroom.

Since Stokes was free on $250,000 bond, he was also free to use the restroom.  He stepped out and never returned.

Ballin said Stokes was unable to handle the pressure.

"Just a young kid," Ballin said.  "He just couldn't handle it, and ran off."

After he disappeared, Stokes was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Stokes was found early Wednesday morning hiding out in a house on Knight Arnold.

Ballin said he will fight to keep an escape charge off of Stoke's record so that Stokes might have a chance to participate in prison rehabilitation programs.

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