Deputy's handcuff key found in inmate's possession at Broward County courthouse
BSO incident report says Keenan Renois had key hidden in hole of jail pants
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward Sheriff's Office detention deputy misplaced a handcuff key that was eventually found in an inmate's possession Tuesday morning at the Broward County courthouse, according to an incident report.
The incident comes just days after murder suspect Dayonte Resiles, 21, escaped from the same courthouse.
According to the report, which was filed by Deputy E.M. Adams, burglary suspect Keenan Renois, 18, had the key in a hole in his jail-issued pants.
Adams said he had lost the key after moving another inmate from a courtroom to a holding cell at the courthouse.
"Upon washing my hands, I noticed that my handcuff key was not in my upper left pocket," Adams wrote in his report.
Adams' supervisor and other deputies searched the holding cell, the handcuff storage area and other areas of the courthouse. They also strip-searched all the inmates in the holding cell.
During the search, an inmate told Adams that Renois "had the key concealed in his pants," but Renois had since been moved to Judge Elizabeth Scherer's courtroom.
According to a supplemental incident report, another deputy was preparing to search Renois in Scherer's courtroom when he asked Renois if he had anything that he shouldn't. Renois said yes, reached into the waistband of his pants, where there was a hole, and pulled out the handcuff key.
Renois was later questioned by Sgt. P.J. Gutierrez. The inmate said that he "saw the key on the floor and picked it up and was going to throw it under the cell door but did not know what the deputies would think, so he held onto it."
He told Gutierrez that he planned on leaving the key in his unit and said he "was not going to do anything with it."
Gutierrez wrote in his supplemental report, however, that Renois never approached any staff member to say that he had found the key.
Authorities have been searching for Resiles since Friday's courthouse escape in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said Resiles jumped out of the jury box inside a fourth-floor courtroom and ran away, eluding two unarmed bailiffs. Israel said Resiles took off his jumpsuit, handcuffs and shackles. Surveillance video showed him running out of the courthouse wearing a white T-shirt and black shorts.
Four people -- Winston Russell Jr., 22, of Sunrise; LaQuay Stern, 22, of Palm Bay; and West Palm Beach twins Kreton Barnes and TreVon Barnes, both 17 -- were later arrested, accused of helping Resiles orchestrate his escape.
According to an arrest affidavit, Stern was recorded in several telephone conversations with Resiles plotting the escape.
Hours before the escape, Israel said, Stern drove her silver BMW to pick up Russell from his Sunrise home. From there, they went to an apartment on Siesta Key Circle in Deerfield Beach, where they picked up two bags.
One of the bags contained clothing for Resiles, and the other held a generic police uniform, Israel said.
Stern and Russell next drove to West Palm Beach, where they picked up the twin brothers, and the foursome drove south to the Broward County courthouse, Israel said.
The Barnes brothers sat in the courtroom, where a pretrial hearing for Resiles was scheduled, while Stern and Russell waited in the BMW on the north side of the courthouse, Israel said.
"One of the twins coughed into a cellphone that was open between the twins and Stern and Russell in the vehicle," Israel said.
The sheriff said the cough signaled Stern and Russell that Resiles was on his way to the car.
Resiles got into the BMW and was driven to an apartment at an undisclosed location, Israel said.
Stern and Russell returned to Russell's Sunrise home, and Russell took possession of the bag that held the police uniform, Israel said.
Stern left for several hours and then met Russell at a Deerfield Beach apartment, where deputies ultimately tracked them down Saturday and took them into custody, Israel said.
As a result of the escape, Israel announced a change in the way maximum security inmates are transported in the courthouse.
"After evaluating and debriefing the escape of Dayonte Resiles, I directed a change in the movement of maximum security inmates. Effective immediately, when a maximum security inmate is moved for any appearance in court, the detention deputy will remain with the inmate and will only release custody once an armed deputy is present," Israel said in a statement Monday. "Though this change requires significant logistical coordination, I am confident this change will make the courthouse safer and lessen the chance of inmate escape."
Steve Jones, who owns a police supply company, told Local 10 News reporter Neki Mohan that a standard pair of handcuffs costs about $30 and comes with two keys. Although they might not be the handcuffs that BSO deputies use, Jones said he's pretty sure their handcuff keys are all the same.
"That way, if an officer handcuffs someone and then they take him down to the station, they can open them with a key at the station, which occurs quite a bit," Jones said. "If somebody gets a hold of a handcuff key, they can get out of them."
Attorney Jim Lewis, who witnessed Resiles' escape, said he doesn't believe it could have been avoided if the deputies had been armed.
"Things like this are going to happen," Lewis said. "The issue is: How well can we be prepared so that nobody gets hurt?"
Lewis said he has seen armed deputies fighting with inmates on the floor of a courtroom.
"All it takes is for that inmate to get a little bit of an upper hand, to get control of that gun, and then people are going to get shot," Lewis said.
Resiles is charged in the 2014 death of Jill Halliburton Su, who was found dead in a bathtub in her Davie home. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Resiles.
Russell and Stern were ordered held without bond, while the twins were ordered to remain in juvenile detention for 21 days until their next hearing.
Anyone with information about Resiles' whereabouts is asked to call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS.
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