Convicted felon Frederick Owens named 'person of interest' in Des Arc murder of Donovan Buck
DES ARC, Ark. (KTHV) - A convicted felon is a person of interest in the stabbing death of a Des Arc man and when the murder took place, that felon was supposed to be behind bars.
Prairie County Sheriff, Gary Burnett, says a breakdown in communication and lack of protocol led to the release of convicted felon, Frederick Owens. Now a man is dead and State Police are investigating whether Owens is involved.
"Definitely everybody has learned something from this," says Sheriff Burnett.
Burnett sits bewildered knowing a convicted felon, filed through his department and let go, could be involved in the stabbing death of 30-year-old Donovan Buck.
"I've been sheriff since '07 and we've let several out waiting on a bed at ADC, due to lack of room," says Burnett.
On August 20th, Frederick Owens pleaded guilty to unrelated aggravated assault and gun charges.
The judge sentenced Owens to 10 years and turned him over to the Prairie County Sheriff's Office until space opened up at the Arkansas Department of Correction.
"I mean there's lots of criminals out here that need to be lock up, that's not," says Burnett.
Sheriff Burnett says his jail only holds 22 beds and because space is limited at ADC there is lag between sentencing and transport to prison.
"Usually two or three weeks...sometimes it's longer than that because they're overcrowded too," says Burnett.
And that means criminals getting temporary release. Dina Tyler of the Department of Correction says their backup of inmates is down from years past, but smaller agencies can still be dealt a tough decision.
"You could have somebody that is doing one year for a simple forgery charge and they let them out thinking they'll behave and they don't, they act a fool. So it's not an exact science and it's a tough choice," says Tyler.
Sheriff Burnett hopes to learn from this incident to protect the community in the future.
"Trying to get some better protocol because this is a small community, stuff like this don't happen," says Burnett.
Des Arc Police Chief, Darrell Turner, tells Today's THV they turned over all the evidence in the stabbing to the state police for further investigation. Owens is being held at the Prairie County Jail until the investigation is over.