Prisoner accidentally released due to computer glitch shoots teen dead 2 weeks later

An inmate released early from jail because of a computer glitch has now been charged with shooting a teenager dead while he should have been locked up, police have said.

Jeremiah Smith, 26, is accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Ceasar Medina at a tattoo parlor in Spokane, Washington state, on May 26 this year.

Smith had been serving jail time for robbery, burglary and assault and was due to be released on August 10, but was actually freed on May 14 due to a database error that miscalculated sentences.

Smith is just one of 3,200 prisoners that have been mistakenly released from jail early dating all the way back to 2002 due to a computer error that was only recently uncovered.

He is now back in jail charged with first-degree murder, burglary and other crimes.

This is not the first death linked to the early release of prisoners after Robert Jackson Jr, 38, allegedly killed girlfriend Lindsay Hill, 35, in a car wreck.

Police say Jackson was high on drink and drugs when he got behind the wheel of his 1992 Lexus LS  on the night of November 11 this year.

Officers accused Jackson of doing 60mph in a 25mph zone before losing control of the car and slamming into a utility box in Bellevue, Washington.

According to reports from the time, the impact ejected Hill from the vehicle and she died at the scene after slamming into the ground.

Jackson is then accused of fleeing the scene of the crash, leaving Hill’s body behind to be found later by her traumatized 13-year-old son.

Speaking about the two cases, Department of Corrections Secretary Dan Pacholke said: ‘I’m very concerned about what we’ll uncover as we move forward.

‘It concerns me deeply about just the tragedy that is being produced based on early release.’

Pacholke said he and Governor Jay Inslee have apologized and offered condolences to Medina’s mother and the family of the woman killed.

Officials announced last week that as many as 3,200 prisoners have been mistakenly released since 2002 because of problems calculating sentences.

So far, more than two dozen offenders who need to serve additional time are back in custody, and the Department of Corrections is reviewing additional releases.

‘I’m very confident that we’ll get to the bottom of it,’ Pacholke said.

The attorney general’s office advised the Department of Corrections in 2012 that it wasn’t necessary to manually recalculate prisoners’ sentences after the software error was brought to light, according to documents released by the department late yesterday.

The assistant attorney general assigned to the agency wrote in December 2012 that from a ‘risk management perspective,’ a recalculation by hand of hundreds of sentences was ‘not so urgent’ because a software reprogramming fix would eventually take care of the issue.

Corrections officials acknowledged this week that the software fix was delayed 16 times and ultimately never done.

A fix is expected early next month, and corrections officials say they are doing manual recalculations for prisoners whose sentences may have been affected.

The agency was alerted to the error in December 2012, when a victim’s family learned of a prisoner’s imminent release.

The family did its own calculations and found that the prisoner was being credited with too much time for good behavior.

The mistake followed a 2002 state Supreme Court ruling requiring the Department of Corrections to apply good-behavior credits earned in county jail to state prison sentences.

But the programming fix ended up giving prisoners with sentencing enhancements too much ‘good time credit.’

Sentencing enhancements include additional prison time given for certain crimes, such those using firearms. Under state law, prisoners who get extra time for sentencing enhancements cannot have it reduced for good behavior.

Source: The DailyMail

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