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

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

A sign for the prison on the outside of the building.

Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center. (6abc)

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.

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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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