Former Army recruiter facing sex charges planned jail escape through roof, police say


Keith C. McKern Jr.,

(Isabella County Sheriff's Department)

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI – A former U.S. Army recruiter is accused of planning an escape from the county jail where he was being held on sexual assault charges.

Corrections officers at the Isabella County Jail on April 29 discovered a plot involving 43-year-old Keith C. McKern Jr., who was being held on six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. Prosecutors allege the charges involve minors.

According to Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main, McKern's cellmate was a jail trustee incarcerated on a probation violation. When the trustee was spotted passing contraband to a fellow inmate, officers searched him and found drawings and plans on how to escape the building, Main said.

"There were a couple of different options on how to get out of the building," Main said. One involved faking a medical condition and another would have involved the trustee cutting a hole in the roof and lowering a rope ladder through it for McKern to climb up, the sheriff said.

"Once (staff) interrupted it, (the trustee) was up front and talked about it," Main said. "He was definitely cooperative."

When staff confronted McKern, he claimed he had merely been bored and was making up theoretical escape plans, Main said. According to The Morning Sun, McKern also told officers he was following his military training that if captured it is his duty to escape if possible.

On May 10, McKern was arraigned in Isabella County District Court on a charge of solicitation for escape while awaiting trial, punishable by up to two years' incarceration.

McKern's has served three tours in Iraq.

He is slated to appear for a preliminary examination on the attempted escape charge on May 30.

The trustee accused of assisting McKern in his scheme is not facing charges.


©2019 The Saginaw News, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

SEE ALSO: Army Veteran Suspected Of Faking Death To Avoid Sex Crime Guilty Plea

CAMP PENDLETON — The military prosecution of a Coast Guardsman accused of murder began Wednesday with a preliminary hearing at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Seaman Ethan W. Tucker, 21, was arrested August 28 after a seven-month Coast Guard investigation into the January death of Seaman Ethan Kelch, 19, who served on the same ship as Tucker— the Kodiak, Alaska-based high endurance cutter Douglas Munro.

Read More Show Less

ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey would press on with its offensive into northeastern Syria and "crush the heads of terrorists" if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area were not fully implemented.

Erdogan agreed on Thursday in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a "safe zone" Turkey aims to establish in northeast Syria near the Turkish border.

Read More Show Less

President Trump stoked confusion Friday by declaring the U.S. has "secured the Oil" in the Middle East amid continued fallout from the Turkish invasion of northern Syria that he enabled by pulling American troops out of the region.

It wasn't immediately clear what the president was talking about, as there were no publicly known developments in Syria or elsewhere in the Middle East relating to oil. White House aides did not return requests for comment.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. State Department investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state has found no evidence of deliberate mishandling of classified information by department employees.

The investigation, the results of which were released on Friday by Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley's office, centered on whether Clinton, who served as the top U.S. diplomat from 2009 to 2013, jeopardized classified information by using a private email server rather than a government one.

Read More Show Less

BYESVILLE — A Meadowbrook High School student removed from class last Friday for being intoxicated is now facing a felony charge after allegedly threatening to shoot people if the previous incident harmed his chances to join a branch of the United States military.

Gabriel D. Blackledge, 18, of Cambridge, is facing one count of making terrorist threats, a third-degree felony, filed by the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office on Thursday. Blackledge remained incarcerated in the county jail on a $250,000 bond with no 10 percent allowed, according to the sheriff's office's website.

Read More Show Less