An Oregon man accused of kidnapping a sex worker in Seattle and locking her in a concrete block cell was caught unsuccessfully trying to escape his prison cell, authorities said Friday.
Negasi Zuberi, 29, was caught Tuesday afternoon trying to break through the glass of his cell window at the Jackson County Jail, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
A county maintenance worker reported hearing suspicious noises coming from Zuberi’s cell around 12:45 a.m. When officers investigated, they found the prisoner on his bunk next to the broken window.
“Officers detained Zuberi, put him through the full body scanner and moved him to a hard cell with no windows on the outside,” the sheriff’s office said. “While continuing to search the cell, officers found an improvised tool believed to have been used to damage the window.”
The prison’s outer windows are made of reinforced glass, and Zuberi only caused damage to the inner layer, police said.
He was also charged with attempted escape and disorderly conduct.
Zuberi’s lawyers declined to comment on the incident.
The married father-of-two traveled about 430 miles from his home in Klamath Falls to Seattle on July 15, where the FBI said he busted a prostitute and lied about his role as an undercover cop.
The woman claimed Zuberi pointed a taser at her and cuffed her hands and legs in the backseat as they walked back to Oregon.
He kept her in a makeshift cell he built in her garage. She Escaped when she slammed the door open until her hands were bloodied before urging a pedestrian to call the police.
Zuberi was tracked down by authorities in Reno, Nevada, on July 16 in a Walmart parking lot—about 250 miles from his home—and then surrendered. a 45 minute stalematethe FBI said.
A search of his home found notes that appear to reflect the suspect’s plans to organize and carry out his alleged crimes.
Zuberi, who authorities say used the aliases Justin Hyche, Justin Kouassi and Negasi Sakima, has pleaded not guilty to charges of interstate kidnapping and transporting a person across state lines with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity .
If convicted, he faces a life sentence.
The FBI said yes looking for additional victims dates back to 2016 after linking him to violent sexual assaults in other states.
Zuberi, who had at least ten aliases over the years, and his wife appeared on an episode of Judge Judy in 2019. Using the name Justin Hythe, he sued his wife, Alycia Westfall, after a domestic dispute and for damaging his suits with bleach.
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