Inmate’s release questioned

Published 9:52 am Thursday, April 8, 2010

WINDSOR –According to North Carolina Department of Correction (DOC) records, William O. “Jabo” Bryant Jr. was scheduled for release from prison on Friday, April 2.

Following his last day inside the walls of Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor, Wake County law enforcement officials are saying that release should not have taken place.

Now, DOC officials are investigating the circumstances of Bryant’s release after he served 26 months for six felonious drug-related crimes.

Initially, Bryant was jailed in Wake County in March of 2008 for those crimes. Following his court conviction in May of last year, he served time in state prisons – first at Craven Correctional Institution and then at Bertie Correctional.

His DOC record shows a release date of April 2, 2010.

Meanwhile, the Wake County Sheriff’s Office has filed murder charges against Bryant and another man for the shooting death of a taxi cab driver in 1999. Apparently, those charges were drawn while Bryant was still incarcerated in the state prison system for the drug convictions.

On Tuesday, the DOC said they never received any type of documentation from any law enforcement agency in regards to keeping Bryant behind bars.

“As required by law, inmate William O. Bryant Jr. (#0053980) was released Friday from Bertie Correctional Institution after he completed a sentence for sale and possession of cocaine,” said DOC spokesperson Keith Acree in a press release. “The Department never received a detainer from any agency seeking custody of Bryant for pending murder charges in Wake County. Other detainers for misdemeanor charges were verified as dismissed before Bryant was released.”

The release went on to say that as a backup to the formal detainer process, Department of Correction inmate release procedures include checking state court system records to verify there are no pending charges.

“The Department is investigating the circumstances of Bryant’s release and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if procedures were not followed,” Acree said.

“This agency’s job is to protect the public safety and I will not tolerate anyone who jeopardizes that safety,” said DOC Secretary Alvin Keller.

The Department notified local law enforcement on Monday morning when staff who were reviewing inmate releases confirmed Bryant’s pending charges. It is cooperating fully with local and federal authorities who are searching for Bryant and is offering all available resources.

Bryant, age 40, has an extensive criminal record dating back 20 years. The majority of his arrests were drug related, but there was one case in 1995 in Wake County where he served 14 months for felony possession of a weapon of mass destruction.