Convicted murderer captured after accidental release from SC pri - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Convicted murderer captured after accidental release from SC prison

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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) – A man who was recently convicted of murder has been captured after be was accidentally released from prison Monday.

Thomas Aaron Whitlock, 31, was taken into custody without incident in Dallas, Texas.

Whitlock was making a court appearance on drug charges in York County on Monday when the mistake happened.

Corrections officers noticed their error shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday when officers were making plans to return Whitlock to the Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor, North Carolina, police said.

Whitlock has an extensive criminal history. He shot and killed a man in east Charlotte in 2009. He was convicted of the killing in May 2011. 

It took several months before Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police along with U.S. Marshals found Whitlock hiding out in Dallas, Texas - the first time.

The York County Sheriff's Office worked with the North Carolina Division of Adult Correction, and many other law enforcement agencies, to take Whitlock back into custody.

York County Sheriff Bruce Bryant has initiated a comprehensive investigation into how the error occurred.

"To make a mistake and for us to release someone you know there's no excuses for it," said Bryant.

Whitlock still has 11 years to serve in North Carolina.  He asked to be transferred to the Moss Justice Center jail to have a drug charge, as the Sheriff says disposed of. 

"Until we went down and told him the case had been disposed of and he's ready to be released he didn't know that he was getting out," said Bryant. "The officers that released him had no knowledge that he was serving a sentence in the state of North Carolina."

Bryant says because of lack of documentation and human error Whitlock walking out the front door of the jail.

"At the time of his release he didn't say whoa, whoa, wait you know I'm not supposed to be released, I'm supposed to go back serving time in North Carolina, nothing like that happened," said Bryant

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