Escaped fugitive found hiding in relative’s home

JAFFREY — A fugitive wanted after escaping a federal halfway house in Manchester was arrested after being found hiding under a bed at a relative’s home on North Street in Jaffrey on Wednesday morning.

James Michael Porter, 42, was convicted in 2010 for interstate transportation of stolen property. Porter was incarcerated at the halfway house as part of his sentence, when he left the facility and failed to return at the designated time on Nov. 27.

He was located Wednesday by the U.S. Marshals N.H. Joint Fugitive Task Force.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Jeffrey White, in an interview Wednesday, said that there were no other arrests made at the scene, but there was another person present at the time of Porter’s arrest. Police are currently investigating that connection and additional charges may be brought forward in the future regarding harboring Porter.

According to White, halfway houses such as the one Porter was occupying are designed to reintegrate prisoners into society. While there, they are subject to rules and regulations, and the halfway house is still considered an in-custody facility. Prisoners are allowed to leave the house with permission for purposes such as looking for or attending work. Porter was absent from the house while at work, and failed to return at the end of the day, according to White.

Following his escape, an arrest warrant was issued by the U.S. District Court in Concord. During the U.S. Marshal’s investigation into Porter’s escape, Porter’s image was aired as the Marshals’ “Fugitive of the Week” in both print and television media.

Based on information developed by investigators on Wednesday, the task force had reason to believe Porter was at a family member’s residence on North Street. White said that it was not due to a community tip that Porter was found, though. Investigators were in the area on Wednesday morning conducting interviews that led them to believe White was in the North Street home.

At around 11:30 a.m., during a search of the residence, Porter was located hiding under a bed and was arrested without any further incident, according to the release.

After his arrest, Porter was transported to the U.S. District Court in Concord, where he was expected to be processed on the outstanding escape warrant and held pending his court appearance scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. Porter will have to complete his federal prison sentence for his prior conviction, in addition to any sentence imposed for the additional charge.

“He won’t be going back to the halfway house anytime soon,” said White.

The escape charge is a felony, said White. “Even though it’s not a typical over-the-wall, climb-the-fence escape, he was still in an in-custody facility, and it’s still an escape,” said White.

Officers from Greenfield, Nashua, Derry and Jaffrey police departments, along with deputy U.S. Marshals assisted with the investigation and arrest. According to Jaffrey Police Chief Bill Oswalt, in an interview Wednesday, the Marshals notified Jaffrey police that they had reason to believe Porter was in the North Street address, and were already on the scene. Jaffrey police responded, said Oswalt, and when they arrived on the scene, Marshals had already entered the residence. Jaffrey police assisted on the scene in securing the perimeter.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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