Inmate Charged with Robbing Banks, Taking Hostages after Escape

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A prison inmate accused of escaping during a hospital visit was charged with robbing two banks and taking hostages before surrendering.

Billy Jack Fitzmorris, 34, was also indicted Thursday on three gun violations in the April 2 escapade.

Fitzmorris was at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown awaiting sentencing on federal drug charges when he went to a local hospital for treatment. Investigators say he overpowered two guards, stole an officer's gun and then drove a carjacked vehicle about 150 miles to the Columbus area, where he robbed the banks of more than $50,000.

Police said they chased Fitzmorris to a house in Hilliard, where he kicked in the door and held two women hostage. One escaped out of a second-floor window, and the second was released when Fitzmorris surrendered about two hours later, officers said.

Fitzmorris could receive 45 years in prison when he's sentenced May 31 on the earlier cocaine convictions.

Authorities said they believe most of the money from the bank robberies has been recovered.