Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Questions raised over dead burglar's past

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BATON ROUGE- Questions are being raised over why better tabs weren't kept on a man released from prison on conspiracy to commit murder charges, before he was shot and killed Tuesday morning.

Sheriff's deputies said Jermoid Wheeler was shot to death by an East Baton Rouge Parish resident after entering a house on Summer Breeze Drive. His wife was arrested late Tuesday and charged with burglary, theft and murder since she was there when the home invasion took place.

Jermoid Wheeler had a lengthy rap sheet for things like murder, theft, drugs and domestic abuse. He was released from prison last year on conspiracy to commit murder charges after serving about half of his ten-year sentence.

"Looking at the laundry list of charges this person had, I would have liked to see them keep better tabs on him," Neighbor Farah Gheith said.

According to the Department of Corrections, conspiracy to commit murder is classified as a non-violent offense. That means he was not required to serve the majority of his ten year sentence.

"The numbers we see are 65 percent of felons released from prison return within the first 18 months," District Attorney Hillar Moore said.

Numbers provided to the Investigative Unit by the Department of Corrections show under current statutes: if an offender is sentenced to ten years without the benefit of probation or parole, he or she only needs to serve 40 percent of the sentence if the offense is classified as non-violent. If the offense is classified as violent, the offender must serve 85 percent of it. In both cases, the offender is eligible for what's called good time.

"You always receive good time, it depends on the crime," Moore said.

Good time is given to offenders who complete certain programs in prison, and don't pose serious disciplinary problems. When Wheeler was released in 2014, he served about five years and seven months of his sentence, which was half of what he was actually sentenced to.

For neighbors like Gheith, it's an uneasy feeling.

"I commend my neighbor on acting," Gheith said. "It's sad someone had to die but people don't need to keep breaking into people's houses. We work hard for everything. I'm a student and can't afford to keep having to replace things."

Moore wants to see evaluations completed on every inmate before they re-enter society. There's a renewed push to rehabilitate inmates before they get out of prison by the Department of Corrections. Details on that re-entry program will be released next week.


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