TODAY

TODAY   |  October 18, 2013

Hunt is on for mistakenly released murderers

Investigators in Florida say two convicted murderers are on the run after authorities mistakenly let them out of prison. They believe forged documents filed in the Orange County Court are to blame. NBC’s Mark Potter reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> for two dangerous inmates released from prison. mark potter in orlando. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, maria. phony papers were filed here at the orange county courthouse in orlando ordering the early release of two dangerous criminals. as a result they did get out and are being sought. joseph jenkins and charles walkers are convicted killers and are on the run. both were serving life sentences for murder but walked right out the prison door.

>> we're putting every resource and effort we have into apreheading these guys and putting them where they belong.

>> reporter: they were released based on forged documents that reduced their sentences. the paperwork had the signature of judge perry who gained fame as the judge for the casey anthony trial. perry says the convicts had to have help from the outside.

>> anyone with any computer skills can look at a document and take that document off of the internet and lift the signature and paste it somewhere else.

>> reporter: authorities say a third convict tried a similar scheme earlier this year but failed. he was serving time for attempting to kill a police officer . the state attorney's office says he tried to use forged documents to get out of jail but an alert detective foiled the plot. in a statement thursday the state attorney's office warned it is now clear that the use of forged court documents to obtain release from prison is an on going threat. as for jenkins and walker, their mistaken release was discovered on tuesday when a family member of would be of the murder victims was notified of the release and called authorities. now investigators are trying to find out how the two men pulled it off.

>> it's very ingenious. it's a break out without having to break out.

>> reporter: now, overnight, the family of pugh who was murdered by joseph jenkins issued a statement to nbc news saying they never thought this could happen because of his very long sentence. meantime, authorities are trying to determine if other inmates may have gotten out this way as they concentrate on the manhunt for the two