Forest Ray Berry

Forest Ray Berry

provided photo

A walkway from the Butte Pre-Release Center is heading back to prison after being captured in Missoula on Thursday night.

Members of the Missoula Police Department spread out through the neighborhood around Franklin School after a foot chase started when an officer stopped a car containing Forest Ray Berry, 23. Berry had a warrant for his arrest for escape after he walked away from pre-release on July 11.

When the officer, who had recognized Berry riding as a passenger, stopped the car near the intersection of Fifth and Washburn streets around 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Berry got out and ran into the Franklin neighborhood, according to Lt. Sandy Kosena.

Kosena said the chase included Berry cutting through backyards and that he even ran through a person's house in an attempt to evade capture. He was eventually found and arrested on the north side of Franklin School.

"There were a lot of people helping us, calling in and saying 'I just saw him, he was running this way,' " Kosena said.

Berry has Missoula County convictions for felony drug possession and criminal mischief. He had originally been arrested for possession of prescription drugs and marijuana in December 2012. As part of a plea agreement, he had been given a three-year deferral of sentence on the charges by District Court Judge Robert “Dusty” Deschamps in the summer of 2013.

A month after being sentenced, Berry was arrested for tampering with the GPS device that was a part of his probation, and the judge reimposed the deferred sentence, with an added stipulation that he complete the Department of Corrections’ boot camp program. He was arrested again at the end of 2013 after both testing positive for drugs and being kicked out of the boot camp.

While out of custody awaiting a hearing on his violations, Berry was arrested again in February 2014 on a felony assault with a weapon charge after he swung a tire iron at another man during an argument. That charge was eventually reduced to a misdemeanor, for which Berry received a fully suspended six-month jail sentence. He was also charged with felony criminal mischief for cutting off his GPS monitoring bracelet and throwing it into the Clark Fork River in February 2014.

In June 2014, Deschamps sentenced Berry to five years with Department of Corrections with two years suspended for the violations of his drug possession sentence, and a consecutive five year suspended sentence for the criminal mischief charge.

During a court hearing Friday, Justice of the Peace Marie Andersen arraigned Berry on the escape warrant from Powell County, and ordered him transported to the Montana State Prison.

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