The man charged with killing a Good Samaritan during a purse-snatching is the third person to escape the same state-contracted halfway house in the last 20 months.
Anthony Ray Ferrell had fled a "halfway house in the 10900 block of Beaumont Highway" in October, according to the Houston Chronicle. The home in that block is the Ben A. Reid Community Correctional Facility, from which sex offender Bruce McCain escaped in October 2010 and Richard Williamson Griffin Jr. escaped in February 2009. (McCain was arrested in the Rio Grande Valley three weeks after his escape).
The home was operated by private prison group Cornell Companies, which was bought by its main competitor, the Florida-based GEO Group, last April. The facility "provides temporary housing, monitoring and transitional services for 500 minimum-security adult male offenders," according to Cornell Companies literature. Its "security measures include 24-hour custodial supervision, 12-foot perimiter fence, outdoor lighting, close circuit cameras, secure entrances and frequent census checks."
Cornell Companies/GEO also operate Houston's Leidel Comprehensive Sanctions Center. In 2005, before GEO bought Cornell, a Leidel resident who got a day-pass for church and never bothered to return; he fled to Fort Worth, where he killed three men.
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Ferrell is accused of murdering Sam Irick at a Meyerland convenience store last week. Irick tried to intervene as Ferrell allegedly was robbing a customer.