LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A Lafayette murder suspect is back behind bars after he was mistakenly released from jail in November.
Rontralon Joseph was indicted for first-degree murder in January of 2020. That’s a charge which makes you ineligible for bail, but he released after posting bond for lesser charges. 15th Judicial District Attorney Don Landry explained how a murder suspect got out of jail.
“We didn’t check of the right box is why he was released,” stated Landry. He was not in office when first-degree murder suspect Rontralon Joseph was accidentally released, but he said it happened because the computer program used to communicate with the jail had incomplete information.
“There was a computer program that we use, and we still use, and it’s an excellent program and it’s good and goes to the jail, and you are suppose to check off certain boxes so that the jail can be aware of what’s going on with these various cases, and from what I can see the correct box wasn’t checked off,” Landry said.
Joseph was initially arrested on manslaughter charges for the death of Tiage Hudson on September 4, 2019, but a grand jury indicted Joseph on the greater charges of first-degree murder in January.
“We no longer had a manslaughter. We now had a first-degree murder charge,” Landry stated. “And along the lines, certain things should have happened to where the jail would have gotten the message that the grand jury indicted on first-degree murder and there’s a warrant now for that particular charge. Somewhere’s in there, Neale, it didn’t happen how it was supposed to happen.”
There was no record of the murder charge to hold Joseph in the jail, so on November 16, he posted a $5,000 bond for his charges of obstruction of justice, possession of a stolen firearm, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and walked right out of the jail and back on the streets.
According to Landry, “It resulted in something that no one thought would ever happen.”
Two days later, the District Attorney’s office under Keith Stutes realized their mistake and issued another warrant. It took three months before Joseph was arrested in Georgia on February 19, 2021. Landry promised his team is working on extraditing Rontralon Joseph to finish his trial as soon as possible.
“I’m not here to blame anybody for what happened. I’m here to fix it and make sure that it never happens again,” he said.
Joseph was not the only person arrested for Triage Hudson’s murder. D’ivion Francis has been in jail since September 2019. The mother of Tiage Hudson said she wants both men to stay locked away from their families just as her son was taken away from her.