Man charged with helping white supremacist gang member escape prison appears in court

Nicholas Umphenour is accused of helping break Skylar Meade out of custody while he was in a Boise hospital

Amelia Neath
Monday 29 April 2024 19:09 BST
Manhunt underway for white supremacist prison gang member, his alleged accomplice

A man charged with helping a white supremacist gang member escape an Idaho prison last month appeared in court on Monday for a preliminary hearing.

Nicholas Umphenour is accused of helping break Skylar Meade out of custody while he was in a Boise hospital in the early hours of 20 March.

Umphenour and Meade had been held in the same unit of an Idaho Department of Corrections facility from December 2020 until January 2024. They are also allegedly part of the same white supremacist prison gang, the Aryan Knights, police said.

Umphenour is facing three counts of aggravated battery on an officer and using a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony.

Umpehnour’s next hearing is on 20 May. He will appear alongside Tia Garcia who has also been charged for falsely reporting her car was stolen soon after the jail break.

Nicholas Umphenour (left) and Skylar Meade (right) are both thought to have been members of the Aryan Knights, a white supremacist gang
Nicholas Umphenour (left) and Skylar Meade (right) are both thought to have been members of the Aryan Knights, a white supremacist gang (AP)

Meade was serving a 20-year sentence for shooting at a sheriff in a high-speed car chase when he was taken to a hospital for medical treatment in March. Meade, who had been in prison since 2016, still had another 10 years to serve before he was eligible for release.

As he was being transported out of the facility on 20 March, his law enforcement escort was ambushed by a gunman. It resulted in two correction officers being shot and a third being hit by a fellow police officer who responded to the emergency call.

According to police, Umphenour pulled into the ambulance bay of the hospital at around 2am and opened fire on the officers. Police have said that it was a “coordinated” attack, and that the two men sped away from the scene in a grey four-door sedan.

Yet Meade’s escape bearly lasted two days. The two men were captured on 21 March and are being held on $2m bail.

They are also under investigation for the murders of two people who were killed during their 36 hours on the run. The victims have been identified as James L. Mauney, 83, of Juliaetta, Idaho, who was reported missing when he did not return from walking his dogs, and Gerald Don Henderson, 72, who was found dead outside his cabin near Orofino.

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