Gov. Mike Beebe summoned Department of Community Corrections Director David Eberhard to his office this morning after an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette story outlined the outrageous failure, with tragic results, to jail felon and parole absconder Darrell Dennis, who is being held in the May 10 kidnapping and murder of an 18-year-old Fayetteville man.
Beebe spokesperson Stacey Hall said the governor was “concerned and irritated.” UPDATE: Hall released this statement at 4 p.m.:
The Department of Community Corrections and the Arkansas Parole Board will do a thorough review of the specific case in question. They will also focus on whether current practices and procedures need to be restructured. Governor Beebe wants a investigation of the current system to discern whether this is an isolated incident or a systemic problem.
According to the Democrat-Gazette story, by Spencer Willems, (sorry about misspelling in original post)Dennis had never had a hearing on the eight parole absconder warrants he’s racked up since his 2008 release from prison, where he’d served 19 years for aggravated robbery and theft of property as well for violating parole on earlier convictions on theft, drug and kidnapping charges that sent him to prison for three years.
Since his release, the D-G reports, he’s been arrested 14 times and had 21 charges filed against him excluding parole violations. He did not show up for two parole revocation hearings in 2010, but was finally picked up May 1 for absconding. However, he was released from the Pulaski County jail on May 8, and Dennis, despite his long record of parole violations, was told that he needed to report to a parole officer within 24 hours. He did not. Forrest Abrams was kidnapped, robbed and killed, his body dumped at 11th and South Woodrow, 32 hours after Dennis’ release.
Director Eberhard had inquired into Dennis’ release, the Democrat-Gazette reported, and was told that the jail did not hold persons who would be sent to the Department of Correction technical violator center, where it was believed Dennis would be sent.
ADDED COMMENT FROM MAX: It is past time for the Community Corrections Department to be more forthcoming about its failures, or at least role in crimes by people under its supervision. If the state isn’t given full explanations soon, what is a governor for?