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Killer's checkered past shows lack of oversight by feds

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BATON ROUGE- Serious questions are being raised about why a convict who was arrested for more violent crimes managed to roam free while he was under the watch of the feds on probation.

According to investigators, Jamie Croom killed U.S. Deputy Marshal Josie Wells Tuesday as Wells tried to execute a warrant where Croom was hiding out. Croom has been on the run since last month when sheriff's deputies say he shot and killed a brother and sister outside a lounge in New Roads.

The Investigative Unit obtained a document from Jamie Croom's federal gun conviction in 2006 which outlines a supervised release, meaning he was under the fed's watch. Croom was sentenced to five years in prison, followed by five years of probation. Once he got out of jail, though, authorities said he continued to play with guns.

"He had a .45 semi-automatic pistol," Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres said, "which has gone to State Police Crime Lab and has been proven as the murder weapon he had at the Sugar Shack."

Now, there are questions as to why better tabs weren't kept on a man who was supposed to be under the feds' supervision. Last year, Croom was convicted of aggravated assault. He was held in jail from March until his December release, but there's a good chance he could have stayed in jail.

The federal probation form states: "The defendant shall not commit another federal, state or local crime." However, Croom continued to break the law while on the fed's watch.

U.S. Attorney Walt Green told the Investigative Unit the federal probation office did not file paperwork to have Croom's probation revoked until last month, three months after Croom had already been released from jail.

Few answers were given by the feds as to why there was a lapse of time in filing the paperwork to have Croom's probation revoked. We requested an interview with U.S. Attorney Walt Green. He declined, and told us to call the federal probation office for an explanation. 

The office responded with a statement: "It's a matter of public record that Jamie Croom began a term of supervised release with the United States Probation Office, Middle District of Louisiana on January 6, 2014. The U.S. Probation Office cannot at this time address any specifics relating to this matter because a criminal investigation is in progress, and it is necessary to protect and respect the integrity of this process."

The supervised release form goes on to say: "The defendant shall notify the probation officer within 72 hours of being arrested or questioned by a law enforcement officer." In Croom's case, it's unclear if that was ever done. It's also unclear if lives would have been saved if paperwork was filed sooner.

"We paid a high price to execute a warrant yesterday," Torres said.

Sheriff Torres said his office has already arrested five people in connection to Croom, and the double murder in New Roads. Arrest warrants have been issued for two more. Some of those people include Croom's family and friends.

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