South Florida

‘No One Has Been Held Accountable': Broward Murder Suspect Back in Court After Mistaken Release

What to Know

  • Judge Joseph Murphy ordered Vail be held with no bond ahead of his trial.

In a Broward County bond court Saturday, Eric Vail appeared before a judge on a charge of murder – but what was peculiar is that the judge and attorneys seemed to just pick up where they left off and not even mentioning the fact he had been gone for nearly two months after mistakenly being released.

Vail spent more than seven weeks after he was mistakenly released from jail in a bizarre situation caused by a paperwork snafu before being captured in Georgia and being brought back to South Florida.

“He didn’t escape. He didn’t do anything wrong but the system broke down,” said Gordon Weeks, the executive chief assistant public defender. “Someone in this particular process failed. Either the state attorney, the clerk of court or the sheriff’s office because he should not have been released from jail.”

None of the agencies involved have commented about the error that led the 28-year-old Vail, a murder suspect, to be let go by mistake in late May. He is accused of killing Wadarius Harris last October in a drive by shooting that ended in a car crash at Pembroke Park.

“No one has been held accountable and that’s problematic because this type of mistake causes a lot of harm in the system,” said Weeks. “To send folks up to Georgia, the investigation to try to locate folks that were wrongly released and the trauma that it places on folks to not know that they system is working correctly.”

Judge Joseph Murphy ordered Vail be held with no bond ahead of his trial.

“Now that he’s back in custody, they’re going to just try to proceed as if nothing has happened without trying to identify where the system broke,” Weeks added.

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