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Prison employee charged with aiding escape, violating oath

BUFORD -- A Phillips State Prison employee is himself behind bars in Gwinnett County, charged with aiding or permitting an inmate's escape and violating his oath of office.

Corrections officer Kenneth Williams, 22, of Jefferson, is being held without bond at the Gwinnett County Jail following his arrest Friday.

Arrest warrants state that Williams assisted inmate Brian Heath Taylor to escape custody by "picking him up" at a Buford heating and air company called Arctic Air Inc. without permission on the afternoon of July 27.

Taylor is serving time at Phillips State Prison in Buford for 2008 burglary and fleeing-police convictions in Catoosa County. Scheduled for a 2020 release, Taylor's past prison stint involved manufacturing methamphetamine and theft. Records indicate he is actively incarcerated and is part of the prison's transitional center.

Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan confirmed Wednesday that Williams is employed by the department but declined to comment on the pending investigation. Details about Williams's tenure with the prison system were not available.

Williams is being housed in J-Pod, a unit used to segregate inmates such as law enforcement officers for their protection.

A message left at the heating and air company Wednesday was not returned.

A Gwinnett Superior Court judge denied Williams bond on grounds he is a danger to the community. Williams' attorney did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

Court records show Williams is scheduled for a probable cause hearing in Gwinnett Magistrate Court on Friday.