Man, woman arrested for allegedly aiding Greeneville escaped inmate

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office told News Channel 11 Jeremy Woodby and Melinda Babb are both charged with accessory after the fact to escape, a felony. (Source: Greene County Sheriff's Department)

GREENE COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Two people, a man and a woman, are now behind bars for allegedly aiding in the escape of a Greeneville inmate.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office told News Channel 11 Jeremy Woodby and Melinda Babb are both charged with accessory after the fact to escape, a felony. Woodby and Babb were arrested on Tuesday morning.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Office told News Channel 11 Jeremy Woodby and Melinda Babb are both charged with accessory after the fact to escape, a felony. (Source: Greene County Sheriff’s Department)

They allegedly aided inmate Charles Lawson who escaped from a work detail on Sunday.

On Monday, the sheriff’s office got a tip through text messages that Lawson was going to be at McDonald School to meet someone around 10:30 p.m.

Deputies responded to the school and later were given information that Lawson was on Bible Road walking toward McDonald Road with a flashlight.

While driving on Bible Road and turning onto McDonald road, deputies found Woodby walking with a flashlight.

Woodby gave deputies permission to search his phone and found that he had been sending the messages.

According to a sheriff’s office report, deputies asked Woodby if he knew Lawson and he said he knew him from jail a while ago, but had not seen him since.

Deputies said Woodby then became nervous and repeated to deputies that he was walking to meet someone and said he would then walk to his mother’s home.

Woodby then admitted to seeing Lawson on Sunday night. He reportedly told deputies that he rode with Lawson in a stolen truck to Zoomerz at Exit 23, and said he paid to put gas in the truck with his debit card.

He also told deputies that Lawson stayed at his cabin in the 400 block of Bible Road, which was the same road where the stolen truck was found in a corn field. Woodby said he had told Lawson to leave around 5 a.m.

He then handed over the keys to his camper, cabin and gate to deputies.

According to the report, no one was inside the camper when deputies searched it.

When they entered the cabin, they made contact with Melinda Babb, who said that Lawson was there and was around the back of the cabin.

Babb told deputies that Lawson beat on the back door and then he and another man she didn’t know ran away.

According to the report, Babb had first denied knowing Lawson and then later said she was there so she could see him, saying that they were old friends.

Babby then told deputies that she had been there since 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Deputies said Babb had several cell phones. She let deputies look at one phone that had messages sent to Woodby about meeting someone on Bible Road, and that was from Lawson.

Woodby later admitted that he was with Lawson when he evaded arrested on Monday morning in the stolen truck and then said that Babb was there to help give Lawson a ride from the cabin.

Babb and Woodby were both charged with accessory after the fact and both were being held behind bars on a $10,000 bond.

Lawson is one of two Greene County inmates who remain on the run after recently escaping from Greeneville police custody.

24-year-old Charles Lawson (Greene County Sheriff’s Office)

Last Tuesday, Rex Gray walked away from a work detail, and then on Sunday Lawson escaped and stole a truck belonging to the Town of Greeneville.

Rex Allen Gray

Police spotted Lawson driving the truck early Monday morning, but Lawson managed to get away. Later that morning, police recovered the stolen truck, which had been repainted black – said investigators.

Earlier this week, Greene County Sheriff Pat Hankins told News Channel 11 he is putting a temporary hold on the inmate work detail program.

If you have any information that can help deputies find Gray or Lawson call the Greene County Sheriff’s Office at 423-972-7000.

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