Report punishes employee, changes policy after killer bonded out of jail
BATON ROUGE - A state corrections employee will be paid 4% less this year as part of punishment related to the mistaken release of convicted killer Benjuiel Johnson.
Johnson was allowed to bond out of the East Feliciana Parish jail in September after he was accidentally transferred there to face a pending charge. Johnson should never have been moved to another jail from the Dixon Correctional Institute since he still had time left to serve. Officials said a manslaughter conviction didn't show up when they ran his name through the computer system, allowing him to be released on good behavior for prior charges.
Johnson was free for about a week before he was captured in Georgia.
Friday, the corrections office released its review of what happened. The state fails to take all the blame, but acknowledges a clerical mistake by an employee who failed to perform a series of secondary checks before clearing Johnson for release. Although, the state said proper files were not provided to the Department of Corrections by other agencies.
"Johnson's release was not an intentional mistake on anyone's part but it nonetheless was a serious one," Secretary James LeBlanc said in a statement.
In addition to the state worker, LeBlanc sent a letter to sheriffs and jail operators outlining new procedures about how to handle paperwork when an offender already in custody receives and additional conviction.
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