Men who escaped Newport News jail waive probable cause hearing; plea hearing set for June

Two men charged with escaping jail custody in Newport News two months ago have waived their probable cause hearings in General District Court.

John Michael Garza, 37, and Arley Vaughn Nemo III, 43, are accused of tunneling out of their cell at the Newport News Jail Annex on 25th Street, using primitive tools made with “a toothbrush and a metal object.”

The men were missing from a routine headcount March 20 at 7:15 p.m., with jail staff soon discovering a gaping hole in their cell. The Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail, said the tunnel led the men out of the building, where they cleared a security wall.

They were arrested about eight hours later — at 3:30 a.m. on March 21 — at an IHOP located on Mercury Boulevard in Hampton’s Coliseum area.

The men were sitting at a table for an early morning breakfast when someone at the restaurant spotted them, recognizing them from TV reports as wanted fugitives, and called the police.

Before the escape, Garza, of Hampton, had been in jail since December on charges of contempt of court, probation violations and failure to appear. He also has pending felony possession of heroin charges in Hampton.

Garza waived his probable cause hearing Monday on the felony charges of escape and causing property damage in the process.

General District Court Judge Rian Lewis said that by waiving the hearing, Garza agrees that prosecutors “have probable cause to support these charges.” The case will be sent to Newport News Circuit Court for a plea hearing June 23.

Nemo, of Gloucester, had been in custody of the City Jail since October on charges of credit card fraud and larceny, forgery and possession of burglary tools and five drug possession charges.

He waived a probable cause hearing on the escape and property damage charges during a March 23 hearing and has a plea agreement hearing scheduled in Circuit Court on June 22.

Peter Dujardin, 757-247-4749,

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