Correction officer linked to couple in deadly courthouse shooting fired - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Correction officer linked to couple in deadly courthouse shooting fired

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Correction Department today fired a prison guard who acknowledged letting inmate George Hyatte use his cell phone days before Hyatte's deadly escape.

Department spokeswoman Amanda Sluss says 35-year-old Randall Ridenour was terminated during an administrative hearing this morning for violating a ban on personal relationships with inmates and for "conduct unbecoming of an employee in state service."

Hyatte and his wife Jennifer Hyatte are charged with murder in the shooting death of corrections officer Wayne "Cotton" Morgan as the couple fled from outside the Roane County Courthouse in Kingston on August ninth.

Police say Jennifer Hyatte, a former prison nurse who met and married her husband in prison, ambushed the guards as they were leading George Hyatte to a prison van after a hearing.

Sluss said Ridenour acknowledged letting George Hyatte use his cell phone during a court run to Roane County on July 18th. On that day, Sluss said Ridenour let the inmate talk to his wife and also admitted to placing a call to Jennifer Hyatte later that day to further discuss her husband."

Following the escape, a search of George Hyatte's property at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison revealed a charger, a headset and a cell phone stuffed in a peanut butter jar.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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