Murder suspect's release followed 'policy and procedure' | News
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- State Representative David Sanders says the state parole system is broken and wants it overhauled. He says murderers are being let out of jail like suspected killer James Davis.
Davis was only out of jail for two days before allegedly stabbing and killing two people in Lonoke County, just before Christmas.
Davis was in jail for allegedly stealing a car. Representative Sanders says the Department of Community Correction should have prevented him from getting out.
Yet, DCC spokesperson Rhonda Sharp says there were no formal charges ever filed and the parole board could have never predicted he would allegedly commit this double homicide.
When Lonoke County Sheriff's deputies arrested James Davis, 37, for allegedly stabbing and killing two people, he was on parole.
"I think we have a lot of people on parole who do not deserve to be out. And our streets aren't safer as a result. Crime is on the rise," says State Rep. David Sanders, R-Little Rock.
Sanders says the Department of Community Correction could have done more.
"If you look at the Department of Community Correction to revoke someone, the burden of proof is much lower than to go through the court to go through the criminal prosecution and going to court," says Sanders.
Department of Community Correction Spokesperson Rhonda Sharp says in a phone interview that the true blame lies with the alleged offender. Sharp says the state released Davis from prison in September 2011, but she did not know the charges, because she was out of the office. An Arkansas trooper reportedly arrested him a month later for allegedly stealing a car. While in jail, the DCC had the option to seek a revocation hearing and have Davis sent back to prison for six to nine months.
"Every time we have a situation with an offender, we do look at policy and procedure, but I believe our officer followed policy and procedure in this case," says Sharp.
Sharp says she believes the prosecutor did not file formal charges on Davis. And Pulaski County Sheriff spokesperson Lieutenant Carl Minden says a judge ordered the jail to release Davis who was out December 21, 2011. Two days later, Lonoke County arrested him for murder.
"If you begin with the belief that we are dealing with very bad people who have done things and capable of doing more bad things, there's a different approach philosophically," says Rep. Sanders.
"A lot of times we try to work with parolees because there is no purpose serve other than a wake-up call to send somebody back to prison for six to nine months. They come out and have problems again. We find it better to address the issue," says Sharp.
The Department of Community Correction isn't the only agency involved in Davis' case. Arkansas State Police spokesperson Bill Sadler said via email that a review is underway to identify who within state police is directly or indirectly responsible for failing to submit the case file in the original car theft charge. That report was supposed to be sent to the prosecutor.
Representative Sander's friend has created a Facebook page entitled End the Arkansas Parole Crisis. It tracks parolees who commit violent crimes.
Davis is in the Lonoke County jail and held with no bond.