4 arrested for helping murder suspect escape court; suspect still at large

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities have arrested four people, including two minors, in connection to a murder suspect’s escape from the Broward County Courthouse, as the search for the fugitive continues.

It’s been more than four days since Dayont’e Resiles escaped from the courthouse, located at 201 S.E. 6th St., Friday, at around 9:30 a.m.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the four people taken into custody on Saturday helped the 21-year-old break free. They were identified as 17-year-old Kreton Barnes, 17-year-old Trevon Barnes, 22-year-old Winston Russell Jr. and 18-year-old Laquay Stern.

Stern and Russell faced a judge in adult bond court, Monday morning. Both Stern and Russell are being held without bond.

Meanwhile, making an appearance in juvenile court, were the 17-year-old twins. A judge ordered that they be held in juvenile detention for 21 days.

This was the first court appearance for all four alleged accomplices since being arrested and charged with aiding and abetting murder.

At a news conference, Sunday, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel shared new details on the complicated plot and those who, he said, helped the defendant. “We knew that Resiles had help,” he said. “We’ve taken a significant step forward. Four of his accomplices are under arrest.”

Investigators said Stern, who is Resiles’ girlfriend, Russell and twins Kreton and Trevon are facing charges for the escape and accessory to murder after the fact.

Resiles was last seen on surveillance video fleeing the courthouse from the building’s north entrance. Officials said he left behind his jumpsuit and shackles after being able to free himself from his shackles during a status hearing.

“I guess he took the cuffs off somehow,” said witness Christian Dennis, “and when he took the cuffs off, he just ran out the door.”

“Somehow this gentleman was able to get though all of the security and out of the building,” said Jim Lewis, a longtime attorney who was sitting in front of Resiles during the hearing.

Stern told police she first picked up Russell from his Sunrise home, early Wednesday morning. Then, they drove together to a home in Deerfield Beach. There, Stern got two bags, one with clothes for Resiles to change into and another with a police officer’s outfit, including boots, a vest and a gun belt.

William Azul, a friend of one of the accomplices, lives in the Deerfield Beach apartment. He said he doesn’t know Resiles and says he had nothing to do with the escape. “I didn’t know. I didn’t know,” said Azul. “I found out through the police, they told me.”

Authorities said the alleged accomplices gave clothes to the defendant. “Russell had a bag with clothes for Resiles and a generic police uniform for Russell,” said Israel.

After getting the clothing, Stern and Russell allegedly drove to West Palm Beach, picked up the Barnes twins and returned to Fort Lauderdale. The twins got out at the courthouse and asked Bailiff Mary Smith if Resiles was scheduled to appear. She apparently responded “Yes” and the twins sat in the courtroom.

Stern told police that the twins signaled to Resiles in the courtroom that the getaway car was ready. Investigators said when Resiles ran, one of the 17-year-olds tipped off Stern and Russell, who were waiting in a car outside. “One of the twins coughed into his cellphone. That cough was a message to alert them to know that Resiles was on his way down to the vehicle,” said Israel.

The arrest reports said Russell and Stern waited for Resiles just south of the New River Canal, parked near a bridge. Russell and Stern allegedly switched places so Russell could drive when Resiles arrived.

While a massive manhunt unfolded in Fort Lauderdale, Israel said, Stern and Russell dropped off Resiles before heading to the defendant’s apartment in Sunrise. They said they haven’t seen him since. On Saturday, they were both arrested off Siesta Key Circle in Deerfield Beach.

Law enforcement officials ransacked the inside of his apartment looking for any sign of Resiles. While Russell and Stern were arrested, there was no trace of Resiles at the apartment.

That same day, deputies took the Barnes twins into custody in Palm Beach County.

“We don’t have all the answers yet,” said Israel. “Our investigation continues.”

According to the arrest affidavit, detectives determined Resiles had been planning his escape from behind bars. In addition, Stern admitted to hashing out the details with him over the phone and during jail visits.

Resiles is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 59-year-old Davie resident Jill Su, a wife and mother of two, inside her home back in 2014. Police believe Su was home when Resiles picked her home to burglarize. Investigators said Resiles smashed a back glass door to break into the residence, located at 10327 S.W. 22nd Place in Davie, robbing the house and killing Su.

While the search continues, Israel advised to anyone who might be helping Resiles that they are now accomplices to Su’s death. “They will be charged with aiding and abetting murder,” he said.

On Saturday, authorities raised the reward for information leading to Resiles’ capture to $20,000. He is considered armed and dangerous.

If you have any information on Resiles’ whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for that $20,000 reward.

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