Saturday, September 13, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Kent Jail Escapee Captured -- Sanford Nabbed After Chase In Los Angeles

Seattle Times Staff Reporters

Kinnick B. Sanford, one of two inmates who escaped Tuesday night from the new King County Regional Justice Center in Kent, was captured yesterday in Los Angeles, police said.

Sanford was picked up after a routine traffic stop about 5 p.m., said Officer Don Cox of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Sanford, the passenger, ran from the car after police stopped it. A foot chase ensued, and Sanford was caught after police surrounded a neighborhood in south-central Los Angeles, Cox said.

Sanford was carrying a loaded gun, Cox said.

Sanford, who was being booked into the Los Angeles Jail about 9:45 p.m. last night, suffered a broken toe when he fell while fleeing from police, Cox said.

Someone in the Puget Sound area may have given Sanford a ride to Los Angeles, said John Wilson, a spokesman for King County Executive Ron Sims.

Sanford, 27, was facing a possible sentence of more than 27 years for attempted murder before his escape from the justice center with Vanna Rann, 17.

Rann, who was being held on a first-degree-assault charge, was still at large. The mentally ill teenager was due to stand trial on an assault charge in October.

The two had been sought by a task force comprised of police officers from King County, Seattle, the State Patrol and the FBI.

Sanford was being held in the new Kent jail while he awaited sentencing for shooting a Los Angeles woman in the head and neck during an attempted robbery at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport parking garage Dec. 15.

A King County Superior Court jury deliberated less than six hours last month before convicting him of shooting the 40-year-old woman and leaving her for dead shortly after she had flown in to Seattle from Los Angeles.

Sanford was also awaiting sentencing for attempted robbery and possessing stolen property in connection with another incident at the airport five days earlier, when he robbed a woman who was holding an infant in her arms.

He also was facing trial for assault in a third Dec. 8 case in which he is accused of punching a stranger in the face at a bus stop, striking her so hard she could hear her facial bones break, according to authorities.

One side of the woman's face is permanently damaged.

Both of the inmates escaped while playing basketball in a jail exercise yard covered with cyclone fencing. They climbed a pole holding a basketball hoop to reach the ceiling, cut through the fencing and fled while the officer supervising them was occupied with plumbing problems in the housing unit.

Dressed in jail jumpsuits, they stole a vehicle from an elderly couple at a nearby service station.

The car was later found abandoned in Renton.

The escape renewed community concern about the appropriateness of placing the 896-bed jail close to downtown Kent and residential areas. It also focused attention on the jail and how its design may have contributed to the escape.

Jail officials also knew for months there were numerous problems with jail security, including the inadequate range of the jail's rooftop motion-detecting sensors, but didn't think it important enough to address immediately.

Earlier yesterday, County Executive Ron Sims announced a series of steps:

-- A nationally known expert on jail security will be brought in to assess the needs of the new Kent jail.

-- Emergency appropriations will be sought to fix any deficiency in security - tapping the $4 million available from the jail's construction levy.

-- Jail officials will review the facility's equipment; operational issues like staffing, supervision and inmate recreational privileges; and the jail's design.

-- The number of inmates who can be in the outdoor recreational areas will be restricted to five at a time.

-- Night activities in the basketball court area - where the escape began, will now be eliminated.

"All of us have a certain anxiety when dangerous individuals escape," Sims said. "I want the citizens of Kent and South County to know we're moving aggressively to review all security facets. . . ."

Sims said there would be a public meeting on jail security at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Kent City Hall. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Public's help sought

Police are asking the public for help in finding Vanna Rann. If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers: 343-2020.

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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