A man charged with murder was allowed to walk free for one day after being mistakenly released from custody before turning himself back in to authorities.

Joshua Murry

Joshua Murry

Joshua Murry, 28, was arrested last year and charged with murder after Jarrel Ward's body was found in Lowndes County. Ward, a Starkville resident, was missing for several days before his body was discovered.

Tequila Henderson, Ward's aunt, said her family was made aware of Murry's release Thursday after being told he made a post on the social media platform Instagram.

When she viewed the post online, Henderson said she could not believe Murry was out of prison, as she said she knew he was being held without bond due to being a flight risk.

"I was disappointed," Henderson said. "I don't feel safe. This could've been bad."

In 2018, when Murry was initially in custody for the murder charge, he was also charged with conspiracy to attempt escape from jail after Lowndes County law enforcement learned of a plan with Murry's then-girlfriend, Shanice Nottage, who was 25 at the time of this incident.

The plan apparently involved Nottage impersonating a Mississippi Department of Corrections officer and pretending to take Murry into state-custody.

Since the discovery of the plan, Murry has been denied probation and bond, yet he was able to walk free Wednesday.

MDOC Communications Director Grace Fisher provided a timeline of events that showed Murry was being held in Rankin County by the MDOC for a marijuana-related charge.

However, MDOC informed Lowndes County officials on Sept. 24 Murry would be eligible for parole on Sept. 30, at which point Murry should have been labeled as a "hold" with a detainer due to his pending murder charge in Lowndes County.

Detainers are used by law enforcement agencies to signal to other agencies that an inmate must be held.

Fisher said neither the MDOC or the Mississippi Parole Board had received a detainer for Murry, leading to his release.

While condemning the mistake, Colom said he could not assign blame to any one agency or person before an investigation into the accident was conducted, which he said was in the works.

Colom said he believed the overly stressed penal system likely contributed to this slip.

"Mistakes like this are a reality because there's so many people being processed in the system," Colom said.

Colom said he understood the concern around the situation but stressed the fact that Murry was free for a very short amount of time while awaiting a trial for a crime he has not been convicted of.

"Mr. Murry is presumed innocent," Colom said. "In this situation, he did what he was supposed to do by turning himself in."

Henderson said she knew an investigation would take time but she wanted answers soon. She said Colom contacted her sister, Ward's mother, Friday to explain the situation but an explanation was not enough.

She said she would keep asking questions to the DA's office, MDOC and other law enforcement agencies until someone was held accountable.

"I'm not going to stop," Henderson said. "This is going to happen again. I don't have any faith in the system."

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