Blount County sheriff: clerical errors led to inmate release

Blount County sheriff: clerical errors led to inmate release

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Dewyatt Allen Hill (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office) Dewyatt Allen Hill (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)

MARYVILLE (WATE) - A convicted federal inmate was released in July from the Blount County Jail due to human error and policy error, according to an internal investigation by the sheriff's office.

Dewyatt Allen Hill, 55, was released from the jail on July 18. He was being held on federal charges for the U.S. Marshals Service.

Hill was convicted in federal court for involvement in the "take-down style" robbery of several CVS pharmacies in the Knoxville area. He was sentenced to 75 years.

The internal investigation found that paperwork sent to the jail by federal marshals wasn't properly filed or entered into the sheriff's office management system.

The paper copy had handwriting at the bottom of the form that said, "released from USM custody w/Detainer."

The sheriff's office said the detainer on Hill was not in his file when he was released.

As a result of the release, Sheriff James Berrong ordered personnel to make operational changes immediately.

Jailers are to immediately place a copy of the inmate's detainer in the inmate's file when it is received.

An indicator in the booking system should be used to show that a "hold" or "hold for detainer" is active on an inmate.

The sheriff also ordered a supervisor to review and authorize each release of an inmate.

The report said Hill's release was due to human error and policy error, so Berrrong chose not to discipline any personnel.

Sheriff Berrong said in a press release he regrets what happened.

He also spoke about an ongoing overcrowding issue at the jail.

"Today our inmate population is around 512, and we are certified for 350. Our correctional facility is staffed for 350 inmates, and they all work extremely hard at multi-tasking to assure things run as smoothly as possible and are done correctly," he said.

Berrong said his office is not required to hold federal inmates, but the jail receives twice the amount the state pays to house prisoners.

The jail averages around 90 federal inmates a day, so the jail would still be overcrowded if the count did not house them.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service said it will conduct its own investigation into what caused Hill's release.

6 News requested the personnel file of the officer who released Hill. It shows she had just been on the job a little more than a month. The sheriff's office says she will not be reprimanded.

Hill was re-captured Tuesday night by the Smoky Mountains Fugitive Task Force in Knoxville. 

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