DeKalb County

‘It's ridiculous': Teen wanted for leaving jail despite jailers telling him to go home

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A DeKalb County teenager is wanted by the state even though his jailhouse release was actually authorized by the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.

Jaiquon Johnson, 19, turned himself into the DeKalb County jail Tuesday after graduating from Clarkston High School, per a court order. He was set to report to Forsyth County boot camp to serve a first-time offender sentence tied to a 2017 robbery.

But court records show Johnson was released by DeKalb County hours later, just before 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

His mother, Nicole Johnson, picked him up at nearby Wendy’s.

“He’s not a fugitive,” Nicole Johnson said. “He didn’t escape. He turned himself in. DeKalb County let him out.”

Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr confirmed the release was tied to a scheduling error at the jail. They didn't have the transportation to take Johnson to the boot camp, so they asked him to return the next week.

Nicole Johnson said her son’s probation officer confirmed that with her on the day of his release.

“She called me back and she told me, ‘Well, come bring him back here on Tuesday, the 12th,’” Nicole Johnson said.


But by Thursday afternoon, court documents show the same state probation office filed for an arrest warrant, alleging Johnson was “released from the DeKalb County jail without the permission of Judge (Linda) Hunter or the Department of Community Supervision.”

The warrants accused Jaiquon Johnson of “willful disregard of a Court Order,” and violating the conditions of probation. It was signed by Juvenile Court Judge Fatima El-Amin.

“It’s not his fault that DeKalb County released him,” Nicole Johnson said. “He walked out the front door. Not out a back door. Not a side door. Out the front door, where they let him out.”

Carr contacted the Sheriff’s Office, which defended the release, and said it had properly notified the state of Johnson’s new intake day.

“The sheriff’s office determined that the subject could be released temporarily and turn himself in at the next possible date when he could be transported and received by boot camp,” Sheriff Jeff Mann’s statement read. “On the date of the release, the probation office was notified of the revised schedule and a date of June 12, 2018 was set for the subject’s surrender to the sheriff’s office for transport on June 13, 2018 to boot camp … The sheriff’s office continues to be in compliance with orders to transport the subject to boot camp when he can be received into the program and begin that phase of his sentence.”

No one has explained why Johnson is being held responsible for that release.

El-Amin’s office did not immediately respond to an e-mail inquiring about the case Monday. While

Hunter told Carr through a representative that she was not authorized to talk about the case, a spokesperson for the Department of Community Supervision encouraged Johnson to turn himself in for the violations stated in the warrant.

Carr notified the state of DeKalb County’s statement, emphasizing they’d properly notified authorities of the new intake date.

DCS sent back the following statement:

"Jaiqon Johnson is an individual under adult felony probation supervision by our department. Johnson was released from jail on or about Wednesday, June 6, 2018. He is currently wanted on charges of Willful Disregard of a Court Order and Probation Violation out of DeKalb County.  

"At this time, we encourage Johnson to report immediately to the DeKalb County jail and turn himself in to authorities where he can begin to carry out the confinement portion of his sentence.

"We are optimistic Johnson will comply and this situation will be resolved in the very near future."

“Nobody wants to be held accountable, but somebody needs to be held accountable for this,” Nicole Johnson said. “A warrant is issued for a child and they didn’t do anything.”

Jaiquon Johnson plans to turn himself in on the day the DeKalb County jail said it could take him -- Tuesday, June 12.