Pennsylvania prison escape aided by man charged in deadly cheesesteak shop brawl, police say

·2 min read

Authorities say two escaped prisoners in Philadelphia were helped by a fellow inmate who’s charged with murder in a brawl outside a famed Philadelphia cheesesteak shop.

Police said late Friday afternoon that 35-year-old Jose Flores-Huerta has been arrested at the Philadelphia Industrial Correction Center and charged with felony counts of criminal conspiracy and escape.

Flores-Huerta is one of several people charged in the September 2021 death of a New York City man outside Pat’s King of Steaks. Authorities said 28-year-old Isidro Cortez of Queens was beaten with a trash can lid and pummeled, and that two other people, including his father, were injured before the suspects fled in a SUV. At a preliminary hearing last year, his lawyer contended that two other suspects who haven’t been caught were primarily responsible.

Flores-Huerta is alleged to have aided the May 7 escape of 18-year-old Ameen Hurst and 24-year-old Nasir Grant, who cut a hole in a fence surrounding a recreation yard. Hurst and Grant, who were in the same unit but in different cells, were gone for nearly 19 hours before officials knew they were missing.

Grant, incarcerated on drug and weapons counts, was captured Thursday night after a task force staked out a north Philadelphia address where they believed he was staying. Authorities said he was wearing women’s Muslim clothing including a head covering that obscured his face. He’s now facing escape and conspiracy charges and is being held on $10 million bail.

The U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force is now focused on tracking down Hurst, who is charged in four homicides and other crimes.

Court documents indicate that Flores-Huerta is being represented by the Defender Association of Philadelphia in the escape case; messages seeking comment were sent Saturday to the association and to his attorney in the earlier case.

A woman accused of helping the escapees is also facing escape and conspiracy charges as well as hindering apprehension and criminal use of a communications facility. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 21-year-old Xianni Stalling is accused of putting Hurst in touch with a potential getaway driver during recorded phone calls he made from jail hours before the escape. She’s being held on $500,000 bail; the public defender’s office has declined comment.

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