Out of Frying Pan And Into Fire for Pr. George's Man

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 2, 2009

Hundreds of the inmates in the Prince George's County jail are repeat offenders, recidivists who have done time and been released only to find themselves back in trouble with the law years, months, weeks or even days later.

Then there's Sean L. Hawkins Jr.

On Dec. 14, the Temple Hills resident was charged with assault. Hawkins was taken to the jail in Upper Marlboro, where he appeared before a court commissioner and was released on personal recognizance.

Hawkins then walked out of the jail and, according to police, carjacked a Toyota 4Runner in the parking lot. Arrested in Suitland a short time later, Hawkins told police that he carjacked the vehicle "because he needed a ride home from jail," according to charging documents.

He has been ordered held without bond in the carjacking. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12.

"Never in the history of the Department of Corrections have we had anything of this nature occur," said Vicki D. Duncan, a department spokeswoman.

Hawkins, 19, had been arrested by county police on accusations that he assaulted his mother by yelling at her and spitting on her. Once released, about 7 that evening, Hawkins, who is 6-foot-6 and weighs more than 300 pounds, yanked the driver out of the sport-utility vehicle and roared out of the jail parking lot, according to the victim and the charging documents.

"It was incredible," said the victim, Roberto Valladares of Beltsville.

Hawkins didn't get far.

A little more than two hours after the carjacking, a county police officer on patrol in Suitland saw the Toyota, its headlights off, on Silver Hill Road. The officer ran a computer check and learned that the vehicle had been reported carjacked, according to the documents. Hawkins was pulled over in the parking lot of Suitland High School.

Valladares, a Salvadoran immigrant who works as a cook at a restaurant in the District, said he was at the jail to pick up a relative for whom he had just posted bond. In an interview conducted in Spanish, Valladares said it was the first time he had been to the jail.

Valladares, 48, said he was sitting behind the wheel when "someone opened my door, grabbed my jacket with both hands and threw me out."

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