Sheriff: Tupelo Police mistake released murder suspect from custody

Published 11:37 am Friday, December 14, 2018

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi sheriff says a police paperwork mistake allowed a teenager charged with murder to walk out of jail and commit more crimes including a fatal drive-by shooting.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said 17-year-old Latavious Betts should not have been on the streets after being charged as an adult with murder in April. Betts now is accused of killing a 66-year-old woman and injuring four other people in a drive-by shooting last week.

Johnson says Verona police failed to properly enter the first murder charge in the court system, enabling Betts to leave jail with just a signature, and to be released on bond again after another shooting in July.

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Police Chief J.B. Long declined to comment.