DENVER (CBS4) – Text messages exchanged between a Denver sheriff’s deputy and the jail inmate who he helped escape indicate the deputy was motivated to help the inmate for money, not out of fear, as the deputy previously claimed.
A Denver judge sentenced Denver Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Andrews to six years in prison for helping inmate Felix Trujillo escape from the jail April 7, 2013.
Andrews repeatedly told his supervisors and investigators that he sneaked Trujillo out because his family had been threatened.
“They made me do it,” Andrews told a supervisor after he was caught. “They held a gun to my head and said they would kill my family if I didn’t do it.”
But in an exclusive interview with CBS4 last May, Trujillo, 24, the first inmate to ever escape from the Downtown Denver Detention Center, insisted Deputy Andrews was motivated by money. Trujillo said the Deputy smuggled a cellphone into the prisoner who then proceeded to text the deputy, masquerading as a family member outside the jail, who would coordinate the escape.
CBS4 obtained four days’ worth of text messages, spanning April 3 through April 7, 2013, between Andrews’ cellphone and the phone he smuggled into the jail.
On April 3, Andrews’ phone sent a brief message to the second phone: “500k,” reads the message. Trujillo previously told CBS4 the deputy thought he was going to be paid $500,000 to help the inmate escape.
Three days later, Andrews receives a text from what he apparently thought was a family member of Trujillo outside the jail. “Get him out bro.” A message comes back from Andrews’ phone: “I need one day to plan it, let’s meet tonight to go over details.”
Andrews planned to facilitate the escape April 6, texting that there were “Lots of cameras and people I have to walk by.” He gets a message back: “Make it work 2nyt. I will throw in a ’10 Tahoe. We need him to nite. Are u trying to play him to b a deputy? That will never work.”
Andrews responds, “Let me think, I’ll get back to ya in a sec.”
In a later message that Andrews thought was coming from an outside family member but was really coming from Trujillo in his jail cell, “We give u our WORD i knw ur nervous but u gota slam thr One out 4 us we wil protect u by all meenz. I only wana meet u Once.”
The response from Andrews: “My plan was to take him as a deputy down the back elevators, once we are back there doors pop before you even get to them. It will be easy then.”
Andrews then texts another possible plan. “The alternate is to put him in a trusty uniform, have him take out the trash with me and hope and pray they pop the door for me to the final door. The only problem is that is thats the last line of security. I’ve been thinking about this for the past 4 days.. i can not f___ this up.”
Later, Andrews asks for money. “I trust you but I need something just for my piece of mind,” he texted.
The response he received: “I feel you. 250 large is a minute. U my bro kum to my place…TRUST ME KOP I PUT THAT ON MY BROTHERZ LYF … the loot is bagged tagged and ready for u to grab..”
Andrews continues to negotiate the financial settlement until he received this text: “I wud realy appreciate if u kan just bring him at 8 and colec the whole 5. Im invitin u to my house cop. We aint about gamez.”
Trujillo told CBS4 that Andrews sincerely believed he was communicating with someone outside the jail who was helping plan the escape and payoff, even though he was really only texting with a cunning inmate who outsmarted him.
Just before the escape, a text from Andrews’ phone said, “Here we come.”
Trujillo told CBS4 that Deputy Andrews drove him to a spot north of Denver where he would exchange the inmate for cash, money that never came. He said Andrews sat in his car for a long period of time, anxiously awaiting his money. The text messages suggest that version of the story is accurate.
As he apparently waits, Andrews texts, “Its been a long time, come get me.” Minutes later, he texts again, “Respond to me.. Come on bro.. I got to get out of here.. Is somebody coming out here?”
He receives this response: “Tym is slow go for a ride.”
“Whats happening,” asks Andrews, “do you just want me to leave and get f_____?”
Finally Andrews figures out what has happened. One of his last texts reads, “OK I get it I got played.”
Andrews returned to the jail that night and confessed to aiding the escape but claimed he did it because his life was in danger.
Trujillo was on the run for three days before he gave himself up and was returned to jail.
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