Jail policy was not followed in escape, Richmond County sheriff says

Jail workers erroneously released teen



The inmate who was mistakenly let out of the Richmond County jail was caught Monday night, Sheriff Ronnie Strength said.

About 7:30 p.m., police tracked down Devontae Romeo Roberts in a room at the Rodeway Inn, 2926 Peach Orchard Road.

“We have been following leads closely since it happened,” Strength said. “This one worked out.”

Strength said Roberts was released last weekend because jail workers failed to follow policy.

“We dropped the ball,” Strength said Monday. “The policy was not followed, and I’m not happy about it.”

The sheriff said an internal affairs investigation has been launched to determine exactly where the breakdown occurred and who was responsible for allowing the 19-year-old to walk out of the jail at 12:52 a.m. Saturday.

Jail employees thought they were releasing another inmate, Brett Corey Counts, Strength said. Counts, 20, had been jailed Wednesday on charges of terroristic threats and acts and weapons possession and was
set to be released on bond early Saturday, the sheriff said.

All inmates wear wristbands that identify them for jail workers. Somehow, Roberts was able to get Counts’ wristband and slip through the system checks that are supposed to be performed before any inmate is released, the sheriff said.

“With 1,000 inmates, the guards can’t know each one,” he said.

Jail employees realized their mistake after the woman who had paid Counts’ bail asked why he had not been released, Strength said. After the mistake was caught, the jail was locked down and an investigation was launched. Strength said results of the internal investigation will be given to a review board to determine what action will be taken. He said any disciplinary measures will be approved by him when the time comes.

Strength said Counts claimed no knowledge of how Roberts got his wristband, but he has been charged with aiding an escape, a felony.

Roberts’ girlfriend, Brittney Chanele Boykin, 19, has been charged with hindering the apprehension or punishment of a criminal in connection with the escape, according to sheriff’s Lt. Blaise Dresser. Boykin was being held at the jail Monday.

Roberts was arrested Dec. 18 in connection with an armed robbery of the Family Dollar on Deans Bridge Road, Dresser said.

County records show that Roberts committed an armed robbery in August 2009.

Roberts spent 17 months in confinement. In January 2011, he was credited with time served and sentenced to eight years, seven months on probation.





Sun, 12/17/2017 - 19:23

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