Crime Stoppers and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections are both offering cash rewards for information that helps capture a 32-year-old convicted killer who was accidently released from prison just a few years into his 40-year sentence.
Corrections spokeswoman Pam Laborde said Wednesday that her agency will pay $1,000, in addition to Crime Stoppers’ cash reward of up to $5,000, for information that leads to the arrest of Benjueil Johnson. Federal and local authorities have been looking for him since Monday, when the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office notified DOC that Johnson was on the streets but shouldn’t be.
Johnson is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 190 pounds. He has a tattoo on his left arm that reads “Timed Up” and a tattoo on his right arm that says “Keyleon,” according to Laborde.
Johnson lived in Plaquemine before he was locked up, and authorities believe he still has family members in the area.
Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi said Tuesday that his deputies already had worked several leads on Johnson’s location but were unable to find him.
Laborde said that along with the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and the State Police have joined DOC in its search for Johnson.
Johnson was accidentally released from state custody on Sept. 22.
Laborde previously said DOC employees failed to follow up with Iberville Parish authorities about outstanding convictions Johnson had on his rap sheet for the 2010 fatal shooting of Cordies Gales.
In January 2013, Johnson pleaded guilty to manslaughter and attempted possession of a firearm by a convicted felon for shooting Gales, 31, after the two men were involved in a fight over a gambling game.
Johnson was to serve part of his overall 40-year sentence for those crimes at the same time as several other charges he already had been convicted of in another parish.
DOC released Johnson when he finished his time on other charges, not realizing he had a long sentence still ahead of him for manslaughter. Laborde had said DOC didn’t get paperwork from local authorities after Johnson’s guilty plea, a point that Stassi disputed.
“But I’m not trying to blame Iberville, because we should have caught it,” Laborde said Tuesday.
Anyone with information is asked to called Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP (7867), text CS225 plus your message to CRIMES (274637) or log on to www.crimestoppersbr.com.