• DeKalb man accidentally released from jail back in custody after SWAT standoff


    LITHONIA, Ga. - A DeKalb County inmate accidentally released from jail is back in police custody after a SWAT standoff at his family home.

    That man, Joel Harper, 22, was released over a week ago due to an administrative error. He was recaptured around 9:30 p.m. Friday after a tense standoff that lasted several hours.

    In August, Harper was sentenced to 10 years in prison for two counts of armed robbery and one count of aggravated assault.

    On Nov. 21, Sgt. Adrion Bell of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Officer said Harper was accidentally released from the DeKalb County Jail due to an administrative error.

    "As soon as we found out that an error was made, we got right on it," Bell said.
    A DeKalb fugitive squad tracked Harper to his family home in Lithonia Friday night, where they found him hiding with his 4-year-old daughter inside.

    "We had tried to get her out of the house, have her come downstairs," Bell said. "That's when we staged the area for the SWT team. They went in and found him hiding in a bottom bedroom closet."

    Neighbors who couldn't get into their homes were surprised to hear about Harper's release from jail.

    "I guess a mistake is a mistake, but that shouldn't be one of them," one neighbor told Channel 2's Ashley Swann.

    Bell said they've taken steps to correct the error.

    "Sheriff Brown has made efforts and those mistakes have been corrected so that will not happen again," Bell said. "Fortunately we got a convicted felon off the streets."

    DeKalb sheriff's deputies said it's too early to say Harper will face any charges for resisting arrest.

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    DeKalb man accidentally released from jail back in custody after SWAT standoff