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Twice-hunted local escapee faces more prison time

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 12:08 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 12:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - If Jonah Schafner looks familiar, there’s a reason: His picture has been here before.

The federal inmate from Grovetown has been the subject of two manhunts in recent months.

And now that the 33-year-old has been caught, he could face more prison time after being indicted on one count of escape from custody.

His latest charge stems from an escape from Jefferson County jail, where he was being held while awaiting transfer to prison after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of firearms by a convicted felon. He was to be sent to prison after being sentenced March 9 in U.S. District Court in Augusta to 108 months.

After the escape, he was taken into custody four days later in Columbia County.

If convicted of the escape charge, he’ll face five more years in prison.

Even before his escape, he made headlines by putting a Grovetown neighborhood on virtual lockdown.

In early September, authorities launched a massive search for Schafner in the Crown Heights and Sylvan Lake areas. He was wanted at the time in a series of crimes, including entering autos and motor vehicle theft.

Before they caught him, officers were searching cars going in and out of the area.

Johnah Schafner's mugshots through the years.
Johnah Schafner's mugshots through the years.(WRDW)

Before then, he had a criminal record.

Schafner was charged in 2008 in Richmond County with three felony counts of burglary — two in an offense that occurred June 8, 2008, and one in a July 28 incident that year.

The three counts were reduced to misdemeanor criminal trespass and he pleaded guilty, according to court records.

On Feb. 5, 2009, he was fined $1,300 and placed on probation for 12 months, according to Richmond County court records.

Arrest warrants were issued for him on Aug. 30, 2011, and Jan. 4, 2012, according to court records.

Other indictments

Also named in federal indictments from the 2021 term of the U.S. District Court grand jury is an Augusta man who faces several charges.

Donald Lorenzo Evans Jr., 43, is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, in reference to a prior conviction for domestic violence.

Also named in the grand jury indictments are three Savannah men:

  • Matthew James Gordon, 26, charged with possession of cocaine and crack cocaine and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • Kevin James Allen, 42, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • King Coney, 29, charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

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