A judge sentenced a Georgia man to 15 years in prison for shooting an off-duty police officer, but the man served barely one year in prison before he was released – by mistake.
A representative of the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office told WSB-TV investigative reporter Mark Winne that last week, the state Department of Community Supervision notified the office that Jermarcus Jordan was not in prison, where he was supposed to be.
This week, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office arrested Jordan on new charges of aggravated assault and cruelty to children after he had been out of prison for two years.
Chris Smith is the officer who was shot by Jordan. He told Winne that he's no longer a police officer and there are too many holes in the system of which he was once a part.
“It shows that there are a lot of loopholes and different things that really just need to be fixed,” Smith said.
Smith said he was an Atlanta police officer working an extra job in uniform at an apartment complex when a gunman cut loose in 2013 with a shotgun as Smith sat in his pickup truck.
“I was shot in the head, a birdshot, and I was shot in my right calf with buckshot. Had it been reversed, I would have been dead on the scene,” Smith told Winne. “I still have six pellets in my head, anywhere from my hairline back.”
Documents and other information suggest the following timeline:
On Jan. 14, 2015, a judge sentenced Jordan to 25 years in prison, with 15 years to serve.
That same day, a probation revocation order was filed against Jordan, involving an old robbery case against him. The sentence for that case expired on May 13, 2016.
A judge this week said it appeared to him that Jordan was released by the Department of Corrections in error on May 13, 2016 -- long before he had served 15 years for the attack on Smith.
“I wish I had an answer for how that happened,” Smith said.
Joan Heath, with the Georgia Department of Corrections, said the department did not release Jordan in error and that there was a problem with the documentation the department received from the DeKalb County Clerk of Superior Court’s Office regarding the sentence for the attack on Smith.
The documentation was returned, but the Department of Corrections said it never received the corrected paperwork needed to legally hold Jordan past May 2016.
DeKalb County Superior Court Clerk Debra DeBerry told Winne that her office sent everything it was supposed to send.
Heath said that, because of other, similar paperwork issues with clerk's offices, last year the department initiated new follow-up procedures as an additional safeguard.
DeBerry said that a 2015 document Winne found in the records indicates a probation worker told the Department of Corrections she would take care of the problem.
A representative for the Department of Community Supervision said probation is under that department now, but wasn’t in 2015, so the department can’t comment on this case.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.