Attorney in Harris Co. courtroom says she was lone witness to escapee kicking shackles off

Brooke Taylor Image
Friday, October 20, 2023
Witness left alone with court escapee tells ONLY 13 what she saw
A manhunt ended for a man who deputies say made it out of his shackles and ran off from a courtroom. A lawyer left with the escapee during a courthouse alert tells ABC13 what she saw.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A man who escaped his leg shackles and managed to walk out of the Harris County Criminal courthouse unnoticed this week was arrested at a motel on Thursday morning, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

Michael Devon Combs, 32, had a court appearance at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse on Tuesday morning. According to records, Combs was out on bond for assaulting his ex-girlfriend and the mother of his two children in 2022. They had reportedly been dating for more than seven years.

A judge revoked his bond, and he was placed into shackles because he had reportedly violated his bond conditions by testing positive for meth and shutting off his GPS monitor.

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Search continues for escapee who left when brawl broke out in courtroom next door, HCSO says

According to court documents, the bailiff instructed Combs to sit on the arrest bench, then placed a shackle around his right ankle, and the other shackle was attached to the metal bench. At about 10 a.m., a panic button went off because a fight broke out in a different courtroom between a convicted murderer's family and the victim's family, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said. The bailiff ran to help, and no one was supervising Combs.

An attorney not representing Combs was with one of her clients and was the only witness who saw him escape with her own eyes.

"I have never witnessed anything like this," Casey Little Gonzalez, defense attorney, said. "I looked around and realized there were no bailiffs. I went out in the courtroom and said, 'I think that guy just escaped.'"

Gonzalez said after the panic button was pressed, the bailiffs ran, leaving her alone.

"Anytime there is a fight in the courtroom, the judge can press a panic button, so the judge next door pressed the panic button," Gonzales said. "Our bailiffs in our courtroom looked around, made sure everyone was secure, and ran next door to help with what was going on in that courtroom."

At that moment, she said Combs managed to kick off his shackles.

"He just kicked it as hard as he could multiple times, got his ankle loose, looked out the courtroom door to make sure there were no bailiffs, and just ran," Gonzalez said.

Somehow, he walked out of the courthouse without anyone noticing and was on the run for 48 hours until he was arrested at a motel off of South Main Street near Post Oak.

According to court records, Combs is now also charged with evading and tampering with his GPS monitor.

SEE FIGHT VIDEO: Chaos breaks out in courtroom after man pleads guilty to killing his teenage girlfriend

ABC13 cameras captured family members fighting during court for Frank DeLeon Jr., who pleaded guilty to the murder of Diamond Alvarez.

Officials said no one noticed Combs was gone for 10 to 15 minutes.

SEE ORIGINAL REPORT: Man was able to escape leg shackles when brawl broke out in another courtroom, HCSO says

The Harris County Sheriff's Office confirmed a man was being taken into custody over a revoked bond when he escaped from the courtroom.

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