Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted murderer who captured the nation’s attention after escaping from a Pennsylvania prison for weeks, was captured at gunpoint. He is now facing a dozen new charges, according to news reports, including charges for burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, and criminal trespassing.

About the Escape

On August 31, 2023, Cavalcante allegedly climbed up a prison yard wall and ran across the roof to escape from the prison. On September 13, 2023, he was arrested in a rural part of Chester County. The guard on duty was fired.

He was taken back in custody. However, he has now been charged with approximately twelve additional crimes, including, but not limited to, burglary, theft, and escape.

About the Murder Charge

Cavalcante, who was previously charged with an additional murder in Brazil, is now serving a life sentence at State Correctional Institution-Phoenix in neighboring Montgomery County for murder in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, life means life, that is, there is no chance for parole unless you are granted a commutation through the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and the governor signs off on the commutation.

Seems like a waste of taxpayers’ dollars to prosecute a guy for escape, etc., when he is already serving life and there is no chance he will get out. Why are they prosecuting him for the escape?

Legal Analysis

We looked up the murder case and it is currently under appeal at Commonwealth v. Cavalcante, 2531 EDA 2023 in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. Perhaps the Chester County DA’s Office is worried the murder case might get overturned, so they want to make sure he spends a lot of time in jail. Otherwise, it seems very silly to go after him on the escape because a person can only serve life to the end of their natural life.

Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.