Benjuiel Johnson, the 32-year-old convicted killer who was accidentally released from a Louisiana prison in September, was caught in the Atlanta area early Friday morning, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Johnson was taken into custody at a motel in the Atlanta suburb of Norcross after being mistakenly released from the Dixon Correctional Institute on Sept. 23 because of a technical glitch.
He was already in prison on unrelated charges when he was convicted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Cordies Gale. The plan was for Johnson to simply continue serving the 40-year manslaughter sentence at Dixon, but that information was never communicated to the state prison.
“Whenever he was convicted [in Iberville, Louisiana,] in 2013, that information never came to us,” Department of Corrections spokeswoman Pam Laborde said Tuesday. “So when he finished an early release program he was involved with related to his previous charges, we started the release process.”
Johnson was free for five days before anyone even noticed the error. He was spotted on the street in Iberville when a passerby who knew he was incarcerated recognized him and called the local sheriff’s office to ask why he was free.
The 32-year-old was alone when was he was found, but authorities suspect he had help to get to Atlanta. For now, Johnson is being held in Gwinnett County, Gaeorgia, while officials arrange for him to be transported back to Louisiana.
Johnson’s mother, Francel, was worried her son would be killed when he was located, but he was apprehended without incident. “It’s not his fault, it’s not his fault. He got released,” she said. “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.”
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.