Prisoner who fled hospital appears in court

WASHINGTON — Several hours after he was arrested in D.C., a prisoner who overpowered a guard and fled a Virginia hospital appeared in federal court to face an escape charge.

Wossen Assaye, 42, was escorted by four U.S. marshals during his brief appearance before Magistrate Ivan Davis Tuesday afternoon. He wore an unzipped white plastic jumpsuit but no shoes or socks.

When asked if he understood the charge against him he whispered his response: “Yes, sir.”

He waived his detention hearing. A preliminary hearing is set for Friday.

Assaye was originally arrested on March 20 for robbing an Apple Federal Credit Union in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County. The FBI says he’s responsible for a dozen bank robberies in Northern Virginia starting in October 2013.

He was being held for that single bank robbery charge at the Alexandria jail when he tried to commit suicide last week. He was taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment and was still there when he escaped early Tuesday morning.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report from Alexandria.

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