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The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

Four inmates escape from Bibb County Jail

Four prisoners,  Joey Fournier, Marc Anderson, Johnifer Barnwell and Chavis Stokes, escaped Bibb County Jail in Macon on Oct. 16. The escape of the four prisoners was too close for comfort for GC students and the community of Milledgeville. 

These were not just your run-of-the-mill petty criminals or nonviolent drug users either. Fournier was being held for murder, Anderson was charged with aggravated assault and Stokes was being detained for one count of alleged drug trafficking and another for possession of a firearm. Barnwell was awaiting extradition by U.S. Marshals and facing charges for armed distribution of large quantities of illegal drugs.

According to the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, the inmates escaped the jail by climbing through a broken window in a day room and slipping past a cut fence. They were then picked up in a blue Dodge Challenger in the early hours of the morning.

GC criminal justice professor Carrie Cook points out that this escape illustrates the numerous problems with infrastructure, security, overcrowding and adequate staffing that plague American prisons and jails. 

Jails are fiscally challenging to build and maintain,” Cook said. “We’ve depended on them and used them so much in recent decades because of mass incarceration. The cost to build them is one thing, but they take a lot of money to maintain physically — not to mention the other costs associated with them. They also incur lots of wear and tear that is improperly addressed.”  

During the time of the escape, there were only 10 employees in the jail with 800 inmates in their care.  

“There are nationwide shortages in correctional personnel,” Cook said. “ It is hard to keep staff since the pay is low. Understaffing could have contributed to the door being unlocked when it was supposed to be locked or to the window being damaged.” 

Upon learning that the escape had occurred, the FBI and U.S. Marshals promptly began working with Bibb County authorities in their investigation and manhunt to recover the escaped inmates. The FBI promptly issued warnings describing the inmates. They also offered rewards of $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of any one of the fugitives at large and a $10,000 reward for information on Barnwell’s whereabouts. 

For a week after the escape, no significant developments occurred in the case. The FBI stated that the escapees could be anywhere in the Southeast and as far north as West Virginia. 

On Oct. 20, the getaway car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a local blood donation center by a Bibb County Sheriff’s Office criminal intelligence unit. 


“Law enforcement has identified two individuals who all allegedly assisted in the escape: Jakaylen Williams, who allegedly possessed the Dodge Challenger which was stolen from Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and Mykia Williams, who allegedly helped the inmates escape,” said Adam Lamparello, a criminal justice professor at GC.

Authorities also tried to arrest Christian Williams, but he shot himself in the head when U.S. Marshals knocked at his door. He was later pronounced dead at Atrium Navicent Hospital. 

He was the primary suspect in a 2021 murder unrelated to the charges of the escapees and had been reported missing since the day before his trial was supposed to begin.

After an 11-day federal manhunt, Stokes was captured in Montezuma, Georgia. Stokes was captured at a home in the rural town, which is about 50 miles southwest of Macon. He now faces a charge of felony escape, which could earn him up to 10 years in prison — on top of the charges he was already facing. 

The other three suspects remain at large, and their whereabouts are unknown. Anyone with information should call the FBI’s tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or the U.S. Marshals Service  at 1-877-WANTED2. Tips may also be submitted online at or the USMS Tips app.




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