Bond raised after man who escaped Columbia mental hospital ruled flight risk

cwinston@thestate.comJanuary 16, 2014 

— A man who escaped a Columbia mental hospital two weeks ago has been ruled a flight risk by a Tennessee judge and his bond raised 10-fold.

Bond for Jason Mark Carter, who escaped custody at the G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital on Jan. 2, was raised recently to $750,000 from $75,000, according to the Williamson Herald in Franklin, Tenn.

Williamson County General Sessions Judge Denise Andre raised his bond with the following handwritten notation: “No showing of any ties to the community, family or otherwise. No showing of any employment or residence. Court determines Defendant to be a flight risk and danger to the community. Criminal history is also a factor.”

Carter was in S.C. Department of Mental Health custody after his mother and stepfather were killed in their Oconee County home in 2006. Their bodies were found wrapped in plastic in a room in the basement which Carter shared. He was determined unfit to stand trial and was instead remanded to the state mental hospital.

Carter escaped while on a work detail at the hospital. He was captured early Jan. 3 at a Fairview Inn along Interstate 40 near Nashville, Tenn.

Officials believe he took a white state van from the hospital, and purchased a cellphone and a car between South Carolina and Tennessee. The South Carolina van was found in a parking lot off North Main Street in Columbia last week.

The work program, as well as other policies and procedures at the hospital, are now under review, according to officials.

Carter was scheduled to be in court Thursday on a larceny charge. But that charge was dropped by prosecutors with no explanation.

Carter is next scheduled in court at 1 p.m. Jan. 29 on a charge of being a fugitive from justice.

Officials at the S.C. Department of Mental Health have said they hoped Carter would waive extradition and return to South Carolina. He has not at this point waived his right to extradition, according to court records.

Mark Binkley, deputy director of administration at the mental health department, said the State Law Enforcement Division, which is handling the investigation, is working with the Tennessee solicitor’s office to request extradition. That request would come eventually from Gov. Nikki Haley.

The Williamson Herald in Franklin, Tenn., contributed to this report.

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