Veteran, father wrongfully jailed in Nashville for weeks after name mix-up

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A veteran and father spent nearly three weeks in the Davidson County jail, for a crime he didn’t commit. He says the justice system had the wrong guy.

“It tore me to pieces every day sitting in there, knowing I was an innocent man and nobody would listen,” Christopher Escue told News 2.

Escue served six years with the National Guard, has a top security clearance, and two children under the age of two.

In November, he was arrested in Sumner County for public intoxication. After 10 days in jail. he thought he was getting released, only to find he was being transferred to Davidson County.

“I get there in processing and everything and they said I embezzled 35 thousand dollars from a company named Fox Moving and Storage,” Escue said.

The thing is, he’d never heard of that company. 

“They took my fingerprints, social security number, the whole nine yards,” he explained, “Didn’t want to listen, they didn’t want to hear what I had to say.”

Turns out there’s quite a few Christopher Escues in Middle Tennessee. One, this Escue says owned a detailing company that may have worked on Fox Moving And Storage trucks. When News 2 looked into it, we found that man’s Facebook and business page had recently been deleted. 

“And we don’t even look the same,” Escue said.

He spent 19 days in jail until his friend was able to bail him out. In that time, he says he not only had to fight off a gang member but also missed a very important day in his son’s life.

“He actually started walking, I missed his first steps,” Escue said.

On January 28th, after more than a month of trying to clear his name, Escue was told the case was thrown out. 

The Davidson County District Attorney’s office says the charges came from Metro Police.

When News 2 tried to obtain records, police, the sheriff’s office and the DA all told us they had no record of a Christopher Escue, the case had been expunged.

“The proper steps weren’t taken, they just picked a card out of the deck and said, ‘Here ya go,'” Escue said.

According to the Nashville Public Defender’s Office, when the state charges someone in a “direct presentment indictment,” it goes straight to a grand jury. Their office wasn’t involved until arraignment, but by then, it was the holidays and they couldn’t get his case reviewed.

They told News 2 in a statement: “This charging mistake and the process that allowed it to happen is an example of why people believe the system presumes they are guilty, highlights how difficult it is for a person to assert their innocence from a jail cell and supports the need to end wealth-based detention in the criminal justice system.”

“It’s an Orwellian nightmare, and it’s just crazy,” Escue concluded.

He is currently working on a case with a criminal attorney. He says at the least, he wants his friend to get his bond money back.

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