Stephen A. Crockett Jr.
Benjuiel Johnson
Louisiana Department of Corrections

On Sept. 23 the Dixon Correctional Institute in Louisiana released Benjuiel Johnson, but there was only one problem: Johnson, who was sentenced in 2013 to 35 years for manslaughter, wasn't supposed to be released.

According to WAFB, the Louisiana Department of Corrections says that miscommunication and missing paperwork are to blame for the convicted killer's release.


"We're not trying to make excuses; it's something that should not have happened," Pam Laborde, spokeswoman for the Louisiana Department of Corrections, told the news station.

Officials with the Department of Corrections told the news station that when Johnson's name was put into the system, the only charge that showed was a prior conviction for which he could have been released from Dixon on good behavior. What the computer didn't register was that Johnson had been sentenced to 35 years after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the 2010 shooting death of 31-year-old Cordies Gales. Johnson was also sentenced to another five years in prison for possession of an illegal firearm in the shooting. But, get this: After his release from Dixon, Johnson was picked up and taken to jail, the East Feliciana Parish detention center, on an outstanding charge of battery of an officer. He was put into the system and allowed to post bond. 

The person who processed Johnson's Dixon paperwork says those convictions and charges never showed up, and as a result, Johnson was released. The error wasn't noticed until almost five days after Johnson had been set free.

"I'm shocked. I'm concerned," said Tony Clayton, a special prosecutor who assisted in Johnson's conviction in 2013. "He's a dangerous person, but we're going to get him, we're going to catch him. If he's a smart man, which he probably isn't, he should probably turn himself in, and if not—we're going to use every resource available to take him off the streets."


Johnson's family had been elated to learn that he was released and devastated to learn days later that he was a wanted man.

"We're thinking, this is a gift from God, that he get out early," Johnson’s mother, Francel, who helped bond him out, told the news station.


"It's not his fault, it's not his fault. He got released," Francel Johnson said. "You told him he was no longer your property, he bonded out and now you're hunting him like a dog, like he escaped from prison or something. But no, he didn't escape. You let him go. You all opened the doors and let him out of there."

Read more at WAFB.

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