Florida arrests murderers who fled prison with forged papers

MIAMI (AFP) - Authorities in Florida arrested two convicted murderers who used forged documents to escape from life prison terms.

Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker were arrested at a motel, said a spokeswoman with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

"They were apprehended at about 6:40 pm (2240 GMT) in Panama City Beach at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn," Gretl Plessinger said on Saturday, noting her agency worked in collaboration with the federal US Marshals Service.

The men, both 34, had been convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of early release.

News of their release stunned relatives of their victims who said they feared for their lives - and urged authorities to recapture the pair.

They had served time at the same prison - Franklin Correctional Institution in Carrabelle, Florida.

Florida correctional authorities have not confirmed whether the men previously knew each other.

Nor have they explained how prison officials allowed them to be freed by accident - Jenkins on September 27 and Walker on October 8.

US media posted documents the men used on their path to release with authentic-looking letterheads and signatures from parties required to sign off on such papers.