Samuel Hartman, 39, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon at a motel in Lewisburg, West Virginia, the U.S. Marshals office in Little Rock said.
Three other people who were believed to have aided in his escape were also taken into custody: his wife, Misty Hartman; his mother, Linda White; and White’s boyfriend, Rodney Trent, who was from Lester, West Virginia.
Trent faces felony charges for allegedly harboring a sex offender and for assisting the trio while on the run.
Hartman was sentenced in 2013 to life in prison for the rape of a 14-year-old girl, the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release.
He was serving his sentence at the East Arkansas regional unit at Brickeys when he escaped from a work detail in a field near the facility in August 2022.
The marshals service said Hartman’s wife and mother drove up to the work detail in a pickup on Aug. 12, 2022 and fired several shots toward officers as Hartman got in the truck. They were pursued to the river, where they had two jet skis staged.
An eyewitness on the Mississippi side of the river reported seeing the trio riding jet skis across the river. Investigators in Mississippi said a farmer found jet skis, a cell phone and a set of keys at a boat ramp in Tunica County.
The U.S. Marshals said they teamed up with Arkansas investigators to establish White’s connection to West Virginia in March.
“Today’s capture was the result of deliberate and determined law enforcement work,” Joe Profiri, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, said in a news release. “The United States Marshals Service, Arkansas State Police, and the Arkansas Department of Corrections have kept this case on the forefront and followed hundreds of leads over the course of the last year. We appreciate the support and assistance from all agencies involved, the Arkansas Governor’s office, and the State of West Virginia in bringing this case to a successful conclusion.”
Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised law enforcement for their efforts, saying, “Today’s announcement is the culmination of a year of outstanding, dedicated work by our heroic law enforcement officers. Now that they have brought this dangerous fugitive to justice, all Arkansans can sleep safer at night.”