It was the prison break plan that got its planners absolutely nowhere.
Chester County authorities Tuesday outlined an elaborate plot by two inmates - one accused, the other convicted, of murder - to escape with the help of their girlfriends from the county prison's maximum-security wing. The plan could have come from a movie script, with authorities cracking the case through packages brought, phone calls made, and letters sent.
The inmates are Saleem Williams, 21, charged with a Phoenixville homicide last year, and Shamek Hynson, 32, facing the death penalty for a 2004 Coatesville murder.
Williams and Hynson met in prison. They remain behind bars, now in a restricted housing unit.
The women who allegedly were helping them, Sara-Anne Lombardo, 19, of Sharon Hill, and Jameela Rozier, 19, of Upper Darby, also face charges in the plot.
"This was a devious crime planned by desperate criminals," District Attorney Thomas Hogan said.
The scheme called for one of the girlfriends to bring a tool - possibly the ceramic part of a spark plug or a center punch tool that carpenters use - to shatter the security glass that separates inmates from guests during visits. Authorities said a gun was to be passed to the inmates as they escaped through the broken window.
Hynson and Williams planned to get away in a waiting car or a vehicle they would steal, authorities said. Then, possibly in a second car, the escapees would change their clothes and head to Mexico or another locale.
Rozier and Lombardo had been buying tools and testing their ability to shatter glass, Hogan said. They were also researching destination countries, he said.
The investigation started after prison authorities in September intercepted a package disguised as legal documents for Williams' cellmate. It contained contraband - a generic form of the antidepressant Xanax.
Knowing that packages sometimes are addressed to a different inmate as a subterfuge, county detectives looked at Williams' correspondence and his cellmate's. In communications from Williams, they found references to Hynson and the women. Investigators pieced together the plan by scouring other letters and listening to phone calls made among Williams, Hynson, Rozier and Lombardo.
Last month, county detectives questioned Rozier and Lombardo, who admitted the plan.
The Chester County prison on Wawaset Road in Pocopson Township was built in 1958, according to Warden D. Edward McFadden. It has been expanded twice.
Considering that visitors to the prison are searched and go through an X-ray machine, could the plan have worked?
"I would like to think not," Hogan said. "But we put several things in place as soon as we heard about it to make sure that there would never even be a situation that would play out where they would even have the opportunity for this to work."