Inmate could face longer sentence for alleged escape

EVERETT — A Monroe inmate accused of making a prison break in November could be facing more time behind bars.

Prosecutors on Thursday charged Brandon Musto with escape for slipping out of a minimum security unit located just outside the main prison walls.

Musto reportedly was on the run for four days before his capture. It’s unclear from court papers what prompted the escape. At the time, the inmate was serving the last three months of a more than two-year sentence for a vehicular assault conviction out of Thurston County.

Musto, 37, has a dozen prior felony convictions, including two for escape. Prosecutors say he is facing a lengthy prison stay if he’s convicted of this offense.

Musto’s Nov. 7 escape came to the attention of corrections officers during a routine inmate count. He was unaccounted for and officers began scouring the premises. He was nowhere to be found.

Two days later, a corrections sergeant reviewed surveillance footage around the time Musto went missing, court papers said.

The security cameras captured his departure, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Christopher Sedgewick wrote.

Musto allegedly was seen tossing a bag over a 10 foot fence topped with razor wire. He then reportedly scaled the fence and fled. Corrections officers later recovered a torn piece of clothing stuck in the barbed wire on the fence.

Investigators searched his prison phone calls and visitor records, leading them to check on a Grays Harbor man. Sheriff’s deputies there found blood in the man’s vehicle. He eventually was questioned about Musto. The man reportedly admitted that he picked Musto up in Monroe and drove him on Interstate 90, dropping him off near North Bend.

Hunters called police on Nov. 10, reporting that they had encountered a man near North Bend who appeared to be Musto.

Shortly after his escape, police alerted the public that they were looking for escaped inmate.

The next day a hiker called 911 about seeing Musto on a trail.

Musto reportedly asked the hiker if he could use his cellphone to call his mother. He made the call but a noise startled Musto and he ran off, according to police.

The hiker later realized the man who used his phone likely was the escapee.

Deputies checked phone records and discovered the inmate had called his mother, court papers said.

A King County sheriff’s SWAT team and deputies with police dogs swarmed the area. They found Musto after about a 30-minute search. He was soaking wet, tired and hungry.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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