An Akron man who had livestreamed himself running from police in the past and went back on the run Wednesday after a furlough from jail was found Friday hiding in the basement of an Akron home.

The U.S. Marshals Service announced Friday that the fugitive task force of northern Ohio had recaptured Joe Louis Fletcher, 34, at a home in the 700 block of Allyn Street.

A 29-year-old woman with active warrants was also arrested at the home, the U.S. Marshals office said.

Joe Fletcher

A federal judge had granted Fletcher a furlough Wednesday from pretrial incarceration at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown, where Fletcher was facing federal weapons and drug charges in the U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio.

According to federal court records, he had been in custody without bond since 2020, but asked for a temporary release to attend his daughter's funeral.

Court documents indicate Fletcher was to be released into the custody of his mother for the day on Wednesday, despite prosecutors asking for more safeguards. 

Federal prosecutors had asked for Fletcher to be transported by the U.S. Marshals Service while he was on furlough, citing that he had fled police in both June and September of last year. According to court records, Fletcher had also said in social media videos that he would shoot law enforcement officers. 

Prosecutors wrote that Fletcher was too much of a flight risk to be released to his mother.

"However, given defendant’s clear intent to avoid apprehension and threats to use violence to that end, as shown on multiple occasions, the risk of flight and the danger to the community are too great to allow Defendant to be released on bond, even for that short time," prosecutors said in a court filing. 

Judge Solomon Oliver Jr.'s office declined to comment on the case, but pointed a reporter to another order issued, which explained why Fletcher did not have a marshal escort him.

According to the order, the court was told by the U.S. Marshals Service that they were not available to transport Fletcher as the acting U.S. attorney requested. 

The court agreed to grant the temporary release if Fletcher's mother submitted an affidavit. 

U.S. Marshals Public Information Officer Anne Murphy said marshals did not escort Fletcher to the funeral. She declined to comment further.

A call made to a Northern District U.S. Attorney's Office spokesperson early Friday was not immediately returned. 

Police pursuit of Joe Fletcher livestreamed

On June 24, 2020, Fletcher was arrested in West Akron after leading the Ohio State Highway Patrol on a pursuit, which he livestreamed on Facebook.

Troopers first tried to stop a vehicle Fletcher was in near Interstate 77 and state Route 18 for reckless driving. The vehicle led troopers on a pursuit to St. Michaels Avenue and Thurston Street, where five people fled from the vehicle.

Fletcher was found in a nearby swamp. He had been livestreaming himself on Facebook, apparently hiding from law enforcement before being arrested on video. 

Lt. Neil Laughlin, commander of the patrol's criminal unit, said at the time that Fletcher made threats to shoot officers both during the livestream and after his arrest. He said officers were unaware that Fletcher was recording them.

“We didn't realize that until after the fact,” Laughlin said. “It’s a strange thing for him to do, but it seems to me for just fun and games for him — and he made a threat to shoot police officers.”

Video shows Fletcher claiming involvement in shootings

This was not the first time Fletcher gained notoriety for livestreaming. According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia, Fletcher was an inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta when he allegedly recorded video from a contraband cellphone.

During the video, he also claimed to “run Akron” and bragged about being involved in multiple shootings. The incident reopened wounds for a grieving Akron mother, whose son’s murder was discussed in the video.

Former Police Chief James Nice had once referred to Fletcher as “one of Akron’s most dangerous individuals.”

In federal court, Fletcher is facing charges of having a firearm while being convicted of a felony, possession of drugs with intent to distribute and having a firearm while furthering a drug trafficking offense.

His charges in Summit County Court were dismissed after he was indicted in federal court.

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