Two of the escapees are men charged with murder, while the third was being held on armed robbery charges.
The three were locked down together in a single cell around 2 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) when one started screaming, saying another of them was very sick, Choctaw County Sheriff Tom Abate said. The jailer looked through a porthole, saw someone vomiting, then opened the cell door.
Local authorities used tracking dogs to follow the inmates about a quarter mile down State Highway 17 in Butler, Alabama. The group was either picked up there or had a vehicle waiting for them, Abate said.
The escapees have been identified as Demarcus Woodward, 23, for allegedly fatally shooting a work release inmate and Gemayel Culbert, 32, for being involved in the killing of two people at a private club in northern Choctaw County. The third inmate is Terrell Gordon, 23, who is charged with armed robbery for a theft at a convenience store theft.