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Sheriff admits: Release of Felony inmate on Work Detail “was a mistake”

A Wilcox County inmate facing felony charges was spotted taking a smoke break near the front entrance of the Courthouse in downtown Camden Friday afternoon.

Once a photo of the man began to circulate Facebook, public outrage inevitably ensued, which resulted in some relentless back-and-forth arguments between local citizens.

The man’s name was Steve Stacey. He’s currently facing felony charges in connection to the recent, unnatural death of Chrissy Gaston, 55.

Monday, court records were found indicating that the Murder charges brought against Stacey had been dropped in May, although a reason for the amendment cannot be found on record. Multiple anonymous sources who working closely within the Department say Stacey’s charges were downgraded after autopsy results confirmed a drug overdose was the actual cause of Gaston’s death.

Wilcox County Sheriff Ernest Evans admitted Monday that Stacey should have never been allowed outside, and that it was an “accident” to the fault of an un-named, 35-year-old corrections officer who was in charge of keeping an eye on off-site trustees.

The officer did not get approval from the sheriff before releasing Stacey to cut the grass at the courthouse.

After being brought to his attention, Evans says that Stacey was taken immediately back to jail. “He could have escaped,” Evans says.

When asked if the officer responsible for releasing Stacey would face any sort of punishment or suspension, the sheriff believed an apology was enough. “He thought about what happened and he called me and said he made a mistake.” he says.

Evans has no plans to reprimand the corrections officer at this time. Stacey is expected to go before the Grand Jury again near the end of the Summer. This case is still on-going…. D.A. Michael Jackson was unreachable for comment Monday.

WATCH Channel 12 WSFA’s coverage

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