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MailTribune.com
  • Monical convicted of escape

    Robber is awaiting trial for Ashland bank heist
  • The man who escaped from the Jackson County Jail in November 2012 was sentenced Wednesday to two and a half years in state prison for his crime.
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  • The man who escaped from the Jackson County Jail in November 2012 was sentenced Wednesday to two and a half years in state prison for his crime.
    Bradley William Monical, 43, was sentenced in Jackson County Circuit Court after a jury found him guilty of second-degree escape.
    Monical also is serving a 22-year prison sentence for robbing a bank in Coos County in April 2011.
    "Mr. Monical is a very dangerous person, in my mind," said Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert, who prosecuted the case. "Do I think he deserved more time? Yes."
    A jury deliberated 40 minutes before convicting Monical on the escape charge.
    "I think I had a pretty strong case," Heckert said while awaiting the verdict outside the courtroom.
    On the other side of the lobby, Monical's attorney, Zachary Wayne Light, said Monical's defense hinged on the argument that he wasn't the person who escaped from jail, and, in theory, Monical wasn't even in the jail.
    Because inmates identify themselves upon booking at the jail, Light argued that someone had been impersonating Monical the entire time. He asked for an acquittal, which was denied.
    "It's not a very strong case," Light said, before reentering the courtroom to hear the verdict.
    On Nov. 19, 2012, Monical jumped from the three-story-high jail roof into a nearby tree to escape — triggering a manhunt that stretched from downtown Medford to as far away as Texas.
    He was recaptured nearly a year later near Oregon City by U.S. marshals.
    Monical escaped by standing on a fellow inmate's shoulders in the jail's recreation hall and pushing free a piece of metal mesh to get on the roof.
    He was awaiting trial in Jackson County Circuit Court for a December 2010 robbery of PremierWest Bank in Ashland. That trial is now set for May.
    He will be incarcerated in Jackson County until that trial concludes, then transported to the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem, Heckert said.
    Shortly after Monical's escape, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters ordered crews to replace the mesh with bars and cut down the abetting tree and every other one like it around the jail.
    Local detectives spent countless hours running down prospective leads, including that the self-professed outdoorsman might be hiding in one of several caves in Southern Oregon, Winters said.
    Light requested that Monical be sentenced to 25 months in prison as opposed to 30, but Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Kelly W. Ravassipour refused, adding that the amount of resources used to catch Monical was significant.
    "And that burden falls on all the taxpayers," she said.
    When Ravassipour asked Monical whether he would like to address the court before sentencing, he looked at the ceiling, shrugged his shoulders and shook his head no.
    Following his sentencing, Monical, who seemed lighthearted throughout the trial — many times smiling after whispers to Light — limped out of the courtroom escorted by a pair of deputies.
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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