COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A fugitive inmate and his wife, wanted in a brazen courthouse escape and shooting in Tennessee, were captured Wednesday night at an Ohio motel after a tip from a cab driver who had dropped them off, authorities said.

George Hyatte and Jennifer Forsyth Hyatte were in a room at an America’s Best Value Inn in Columbus and were arrested without a struggle, said Mark Gwyn, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“We have found weapons,” he said. “We don’t know if it’s the murder weapon, but we’re processing those as we speak.”

On Tuesday, authorities say Jennifer Hyatte, 31, ambushed two guards as they were leading her 34-year-old husband from a courthouse hearing in Kingston, Tenn., about 300 miles south of Columbus. Guard Wayne “Cotton” Morgan was fatally shot in the escape.

Jennifer Hyatte had some injuries, Gwyn said, but he declined to elaborate.

He said the couple would be brought back to Tennessee on warrants for first degree murder.

Authorities had already tracked the Hyattes to the Cincinnati area when they got a tip around 9 p.m. that the couple was at the Columbus motel. A cab driver who had apparently driven them to Columbus from Erlanger, Ky., just south of Cincinnati, called Erlanger police, U.S. Marshal John Schickel said.

He declined to give any additional information or identify the cab driver.

After the tip, authorities surrounded the Columbus motel, said John Bolen, a supervisor for the U.S. Marshals Service in Columbus.

Authorities called the motel room where the couple was staying, told them they were surrounded, and the couple came out of their room and surrendered around 10 p.m., Bolen said. They didn’t say anything during the arrest, he said.

Earlier in the day, authorities had tracked down a van the couple was believed to have used outside a motel in Erlanger. The couple was gone, but authorities knew then that they were getting close.

Blood had been found in the motel room, and an employee at a nearby restaurant told federal agents she had given directions that day to a couple she later recognized as the fugitives.

Jennifer Hyatte had been a prison nurse when she met her husband, and was fired last year for sneaking food to him. A few months later, she got permission from the warden to marry George Hyatte, a man with a long and violent criminal record.

Before the escape, George Hyatte had been in court on a robbery charge.

His escape was at least the fifth time he has gotten way from law enforcement officials. The other escapes were from local authorities in east Tennessee in 1990, 1991, 1998 and 2002.


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