Orange County, Florida — In the past month, two killers have mistakenly been released from the Franklin Correctional Institution in the Florida Panhandle.
Reports show that Joseph Ivan Jenkins, 34, was sentenced to life in prison back in May of 2000 for First Degree Murder in Orange County.
Charles B. Walker was sentenced to life in prison for Second Degree Murder in Orange County back in 2001.
Both men were released from Franklin CI just days apart from one another after authorities say prison officials received fraudulent court documents containing fake motions for reduced sentences and a forged judge’s signature.
It’s still unclear as to who made these documents, but officials are saying that they had the same forged signature of Chief Circuit Judge Belvin Perry and both called for the life sentences to be reduced to 15 year sentences with credit for time served by the same prosecutor’s office.
Jenkins was released on September 27, 2013 and Walker was released on October 8, 2013. One of the men was taken to a bus station and the other walked out of the prison gate to his awaiting family members.
Judge Perry said there were several red flags that should have alerted the corrections department or the clerk of courts office, considering that it’s very rare for a judge to sign off on a sentence reduction and even more rare for a prosecutor to suggest it.
Perry said, “One of the things we have never taken a close look at is the verification of a particular document to make sure it’s the real McCoy.” Adding, “I knew that, that was always a possibility, but you never want that possibility occurring in the way it did.”
Misty Cash, spokesperson for the Department of Corrections said, “This is an instance where the department received documents from the court. We initiated our typical procedure for an inmate release.” She added, “The department followed our procedures and protocols to the letter, so in this instance, the department didn’t do anything wrong.”
The DOC is going back and looking at all documents to make sure that there isn’t anything that would raise red flags, and to be sure no other inmates have or will be released by mistake.
Both men showed up to the Orange County Jail three days after being released from prison and registered as felons. Allen Moore, spokesperson for the jail said that the men filled out paperwork and were finger printed there at the jail, which is not far from the sheriff’s office.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not become aware of the mistake until October 15, 2013, after State Attorney Jeffrey Ashton was contacted by family members of the man who was murdered by Jenkins.
Today, October 18, 2013, during a press conference Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said his office has good reason to believe both of the killers are still on Orange county.
Judge Belvin Perry says he is sure Jenkins and Walker had outside help with the creation of the fraudulent documents.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting an investigation leaving no stone unturned. They are not leaving out the possibility of inside help.
Both Walker and Jenkins are still at large and should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of these men should contact their local law enforcement agency or the Department of Corrections at (850) 922-6867.
There is a $5,000 cash reward being offered.