Convicted killer accidentally released from prison caught in Atlanta

Benjuiel Johnson

According to a WAFB report, Benjuiel Johnson was found in the early hours of Friday morning at a motel in an Atlanta suburb.  US Marshals said Johnson was found at a Motel 6 on Jimmy Carter Boulevard off I-85 in Norcross.

"We had some indications that he may be in the Georgia area and we were able to develop those leads and apprehend him," Middle Louisiana US Marshal Kevin Harrison said to WAFB.  "He was arrested without resistance."

            Benjuiel Johnson, 32, was serving a 40-year sentence for pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge in a fatal shooting of Cordies Gales in Plaquemine, La. in 2010. 

            According to officials, Johnson was mistakenly released last Wednesday, September 23, from the Dixon Correctional Institute and the glitch went unnoticed until Monday, September 28 when residents of Iberville Parish contacted authorities about his questionable release.

            After Johnson’s release from Dixon, he was picked up and booked into the East Feliciana Parish detention center and processed for a previous battery charge.  Johnson posted a $10,000 bond and was released.

            “We got a call Monday from someone saying they saw him and asking us why he was free,” Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said in a report with the Advocate.

            As of Wednesday, September 30, a manhunt is underway for Johnson’s location.

            “We’re not trying to make excuses, it’s something that should not have happened,” Pam Laborde, spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Correction, told WAFB-TV.

            Laborde added that the person responsible for the mistake will face disciplinary action.

            “It’s not his fault, it’s not his fault.  He got released,” said Johnson’s mother, Francel, according to WAFB.  “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.”

            Sheriff Stassi and his department urge Johnson to turn himself in.

            Anyone with knowledge of Johnson’s whereabouts are asked to contact local authorities immediately.