Escapee's ex-girlfriend speaks out

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The escape of James Sanders on Jan. 26 has left many shocked, but at least one person is not surprised. The escapee's ex-girlfriend Jennifer says she spent several years in a toxic relationship with Sanders.

"One minute he's crying," Jennifer said."One minute he's, 'I love you.' One minute he's, ' Die. I'm going to kill you. You're going to die.' "

According to Jennifer, abuse became the norm, but their relationship reached a breaking point last summer when Sanders beat her with a metal paint roller.

"It broke my nose, it broke my eye socket, it chipped my tooth, busted my lips. I had knots all over, and then he continues to beat me all over my body with it," Jennifer said.

Before his escape from the Hill Finklea Detention Center last month, Jennifer said Sanders sent her a stack of letters with no obvious threats. Instead, he pleaded with her to drop the domestic violence charges.

Jennifer hadn't seen video of Sanders' escape until Tuesday night.

"There's a smirk on his face," she said as she watched the video of his escape. "He's up to no good. It's like the devil."

Watching the video, Jennifer said the escape was all too familiar.

"He makes sure he takes every bit of evidence like when he used to beat me," she said. "He would wipe the blood up and ring towels out over top me after he threw me in the bathtub. He would clean up the evidence with and blood all over, take off his clothes and throw them in the washing machine so they couldn't find any evidence."

Jennifer remembers the day she received the news from authorities that Sanders had escaped.

"I said, 'You're kidding me, right?' (Jennifer's advocate) said, 'Can you go into a locked room or anything around there?' I said, 'No, I'm not in my office.' "

Now, safety has become Jennifer's number one priority. She has a gun ready at all times in case Sanders returns.

"It's like a roller coaster ride," she said. "I'm up some days. Sometimes I have to laugh, not to cry."

This experience is a ride Jennifer wants to come off of soon. Jennifer says Sanders was looking at a 10-year sentence and that he could be in downtown Charleston or in the Myrtle Beach area.

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