The Search for Darion Givens: How Was He Released?

Photo Credit: Jackson Police
Photo Credit: Jackson Police

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — As Jackson police look for a murder suspect on the run, now accused of a robbery Monday, questions remain as to why he was ever released. We did a little more digging to find out where the ball dropped.

There have been a lot of different agencies and people involved in this situation, but from what we could find, it all points to a problem in communication. In either case, an accused killer is on the loose, and the police need your help to find him.

“This individual is the classic example of what’s wrong with the criminal justice system in Hinds County,” Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance said. “It’s very frustrating for us, but my true frustration is that he’s out with the potential of doing harm to another innocent person.”

Chief Vance is feeling like a broken record this week. After catching and handing an accused killer over to the court system, once again, they are trying to find him again and get him behind bars.

“The records will show that we have arrested this individual numerous times. We have made solid cases against him for capital crimes, i.e. murder, i.e. armed robbery, and somehow he has slipped through the fingers of the system and is out right now,” Chief Vance said.

In 2010 records show Darion Givens was accused in the death of Felicia Miller, a woman shot to death at the Metro Inn on Ellis Avenue. Documents show that there were conflicting witness reports, and the district attorney’s office dropped the charges, November 9, of 2012 citing that the state was unwilling to meet its burden of proof.

December 29 of 2012, Givens admitted to breaking into a woman’s home on Meadow Lane. He was sentenced to four years, but all four were suspended, and he was placed on probation.

The court documents explain that he violated that probation when he was named as a suspect in the 2015 murder of after 34-year-old Carlos Mora. A man shot and killed outside of the American Star Inn on I-55 South near McDowell road. Givens was indicted and denied bond in that case and taken to the Hinds County Detention Center.

“The criminal justice system is made up of three parts. Obviously, we are on the front end as law enforcement, then you have the courts, and then you have corrections,” Chief Vance said. “This guy’s release had absolutely zero to do with us.”

When you violate probation, by law you are ordered to spend time at a technical violation center, within the State Department of Corrections.

Judge William Gowan ordered that he spend 90 days in the TVC.

Via email, a representative from MDOC told us:  “Givens was released from the TVC after completing 90 days, as ordered by the court. MDOC had no authority to hold this offender beyond that time. In other words, because there was no detainer from Hinds County, we had to release him.”

Givens was indicted in the 2015 murder case; a trial date has not been set.

Matt Steffey, Mississippi College Professor of Law, weighed in on the topic.

“This isn’t so much about pointing fingers, it’s fixing the problem, but because he had been indicted for capital murder, I think ultimately the responsibility is on the District Attorney,” Steffey said.” I believe the problem is that you have a court order issued, and people in the system think that has been communicated at necessary, when it hasn’t.”

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