Local News

Authorities: Human Error, Computer Glitch Led To Release Of Murder Suspect

Posted May 14, 2002

— Officials with the Durham County Sheriff's Office blame a mistake that led to the release of a murder suspect on human error and a computer glitch.

Bernick Alston-Currie is back behind bars at the Durham County jail Monday. He turned himself in over the weekend, just nine hours after he posed as his twin brother, Breon, and Durham County jailers let him walked out a free man.

Sheriff's officials blame the mistake on human error and a computer glitch that separated the twins' names on a master list of inmates. Jailers also say Bernic grew his hair out while he was in jail, and looked just like Breon the day he was released.

"We do ask Social Security numbers, but not all inmates have Social Security numbers or know Social Security numbers and we go by the picture, and in this case, the inmates looked exactly alike," said Capt. Julian Couch of the Durham County Sheriff's Office.

Breon was scheduled for release on a robbery charge.

Bernick Alston-Currie was charged with the murder of Matt Jones. His guardian convinced him to turn himself in.

Janet Jones, Matt's mother, said she is relieved the suspect is back in custody.

"I'm just glad he's back in and getting what he deserves. I don't know what went down, but it's a hurtful thing," she said.

The shooting happened at the Liberty Street public housing complex. At the time, the twins lived across the street in a unit that is boarded up and vacant now.

Cerissa Dewberry, who lives near the shooting, said she was shocked to learn an accused murder was set free by mistake.

"I thought, somebody's not doing their job at the jail. That is really terrible for the victim's family. I can't imagine what they're going through," Dewberry said.

Friday's release was not the first paperwork mixup at the jail. Last month, a judge mistakenly released inmate Steven Riggs too early. Two years ago, inmate Kevin Pridgen got out 6 months too early because of a paperwork mistake. County officials met Monday to review their booking procedures.

Bernick Alston-Currie's nine hours of freedom cost him another felony charge. He was served a warrant for felony escape as soon as he came back. His bail was also increased by $250,000.


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