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Officials: Wash. State prison inmate released by mistake, shot and killed teen

January 1, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Officials: Wash. State prison inmate released by mistake, shot and killed teen

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Washington State officials said an inmate, who was accidentally released because of a computer error, committed a robbery where he fatally shot and killed a teen in Spokane.

Police arrested Jeremiah Smith, 26, in the fatal shooting 17-year-old Ceasar Medina outside a tattoo parlor on May 26th, less than two weeks after he was allowed to walk out of prison.

It is the second confirmed death by an inmate who was released early due to the error.

Washington Department of Corrections Secretary Dan Pacholke confirmed that a computer software glitch led to the early release of 3,200 prison inmates since 2002.

Officials say Smith served a five-year sentence for robbery, burglary, and assault, he was was released from state prison on May 14 — when he had a scheduled release date if Aug. 10.

“I’m heartsick that this tragedy occurred at all, much less during the time in which Jeremiah Smith should have been incarcerated,” Pacholke said in a statement.

Police arrested another inmate who was set free prematurely, Robert Jackson and charged him with vehicular homicide in a November deadly car wreck that took the life of his girlfriend Lindsay Hill.

Jackson should have been still serving his jail sentence.

So far police have apprehended more than two dozen offenders, who are back behind bars, according to agency figures.

However, authorities expect more crimes to be linked to the early releases, Pacholke said in a conference call with reporters.

“I’m very concerned about what we’ll uncover as we move forward,” he said. “It concerns me deeply about just the tragedy that is being produced based on early release.”

The Corrections Department’s software problem began in 2002 when the state Supreme Court issued a ruling, which mandated the state agency to credit inmates with good behavior earned in county jails.

The software used by the Department of Corrections issued additional credits for prisoners good-behavior than should have been.

The State Attorney General’s Office learned of the mistake in 2012 and advised the Corrections agency to fix the software before trying to recalculate the sentences by hand, documents released late Wednesday revealed. Corrections officials have admitted the agency delayed solving the problem 16 times and ultimately never fixed it.

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