BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Back in custody. Six days after corrections employees released a murder suspect by mistake, they’ve got their man back behind bars.
Derek Valcourt explains where police found Rodriguez Purnell.
For a wanted man, he certainly didn’t go very far. Police say they found him just blocks away from the scene of the murder he’s charged in, which is just feet from his last known home address.
Rodriguez Purnell, 30, was slapped in cuffs around 6 p.m. Thursday in the 2800-block of Belmont Avenue in West Baltimore.
Authorities aren’t releasing any details on Purnell’s arrest, including where he was hiding, and it’s still not clear how the man waiting to go on trial for murder was set free to begin with.
“Ain’t no way in the world you could just let somebody slip out of your hands like that,” said Terrell Rheubottom, murder victim’s brother.
Rheubottom and his family were outraged to learn the man arrested for murdering his brother, Terrence Rheubottom, in March of 2013 was mistakenly released from prison last Friday.
The Department of Corrections has already suspended one employee over what they called “a lapse in release procedures.” They promised a full investigation to examine “whether this was simply the result of one employee’s failure to adhere to established policies.”
No one at the prison even realized the mistake for two days until someone in the murder victim’s family called to report Purnell had been spotted on the streets.
“So aren’t we doing bed checks, aren’t we checking these people to see if they’re there?” said Del. John Cluster, (R) Baltimore County.
Del. Cluster is calling for Maryland State Police to conduct an independent investigation into the error that let an accused murderer walk free.
Court records indicate Purnell is set for a retrial on the murder charge, which is set for November 19.
Jail officials say the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office will decide whether Purnell will face any additional charges as a result of his mistaken release.
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