Highly Dangerous Escapee from DeSoto County Still on the Run While Allegations of an Inside Job Consume Mississippi Town

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BFMG) — Twenty-four days have passed since Joshua Zimmerman, an inmate from DeSoto County, escaped from the courthouse June 14, 2024. As federal and local authorities continue their search, there is disagreement among leaders about how the escape occurred.

Zimmerman, who may also go by Vincent Guerino Juliano, accused of murder, managed to flee the fully staffed courthouse in plain daylight, then hitch a ride with an unknowing member of the community. District Attorney Matthew Barton and Sheriff Thomas Tuggle have both provided their versions of events, but their stories conflict and the circumstances of Zimmerman’s escape are now part of an internal investigation. District Attorney Barton expressed frustration over the incident, describing Zimmerman as a “career criminal.”

“They were heading to the courtroom. He was in shackles and a jumpsuit like everyone else. He broke from the line, went through a door, and later exited the courthouse in street clothes without shackles,” Barton explained. Sheriff Tuggle, however, disagreed with Barton’s account. “Joshua Zimmerman did not change clothes. He walked out in underwear, a t-shirt, and shower shoes,” Tuggle said.

A photo taken shortly before the escape shows Zimmerman in a white shirt and pants. Barton claimed to have seen a video of the escape, but the official footage is missing. He alleged that co-conspirators tampered with the evidence and deleted it from his team’s servers, calling it a “conspiracy” and a “cover-up.” “It is a felony to tamper with evidence,” Barton stated. Tuggle dismissed any suggestion of an inside job. “The notion that he had help is false,” he asserted. Barton has appointed a grand jury to investigate the courthouse and those involved with the state evidence.

Zimmerman is accused of attacking an elderly man in Southaven, Miss. last September after being hired for work. Southaven Police say Zimmerman was using the name “Mike” at the time. This incident occurred just days after he was accused of murdering a 23-year-old woman execution style after tattooing his name onto the side of her forehead at the Red Carpet Inn at the 6800 block of Hornwood Dr. SW in Houston, Texas on 9/2/23. Surveillance footage from the motel captured Zimmerman shortly after the woman’s death and witnesses reported hearing an argument from the motel room followed by a single gunshot. In March, Zimmerman was indicted by a Texas grand jury for the murder. He is also wanted in Connecticut for a kidnapping that led to a sexual assault and a separate rape case with a different victim.

Four months later, he is now on the run after escaping in DeSoto County. Zimmerman is known to be a master of disguise as his history shows, presenting various names and appearances in order to conceal his identity. Authorities say he may even be disguising himself as a female. Zimmerman is allegedly bisexual and indiscriminate when it comes to is victims.

Houston Police have been in contact with U.S. Marshals regarding Zimmerman and are monitoring the situation despite his lack of ties to the Houston area. The U.S. Marshals Office has confirmed an offering in the form of a $10,000 reward with information that leads to the arrest of Zimmerman, with an additional $10,000 cited directly from the DeSoto County District Attorney’s Office.

Overnight on 7/8/24, numerous tattoo gigs surfaced on Facebook Marketplace in the Southaven, Mississippi area. Zimmerman is known to use tattooing as a way to lure his victims. In addition, the family of Zimmerman reached out to YouTuber, Nik Hatziefstathiou, highly upset and offended that he has been labeled as “gay” in the media but added nothing on his criminal history nor his current whereabouts. As previously stated, Zimmerman is alleged to be bisexual, not gay, due to the rape of his male cellmate that took place while he was previously incarcerated.

Joshua Zimmerman is 30-year-old and 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 210 pounds. He has tattoos on his neck and arms. Authorities are urging caution, referring to Zimmerman as armed and dangerous. He has connections to Memphis, Tenn., and Waterbury, Conn., outside of his crimes in Houston, Texas and DeSoto County, Miss. which could be potential hideouts or transit points. He is believed to have gang-related affiliations and is receiving financial help and/or posting discount tattoo services online to evade law enforcement. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the U.S. Marshals Tip Line at 1-800-336-0102.

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