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Officials Bicker Over Who's to Blame for Florida Murder Suspect's Release

One thing is clear: Eric Vail has yet to be found
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2019 5:36 PM CDT
Eric Alexander Vail.   (Broward Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – In January, Eric Alexander Vail Jr., 28, was charged with second-degree murder in the October death of 27-year-old Wadarius Harris. But in April, a Florida grand jury indicted him and a suspected accomplice on first-degree murder charges. Somehow, apparently due to the fact that prosecutors had to dismiss the lesser charge in order to proceed with the first-degree murder case, Vail ended up being released from the Broward County jail Thursday, CBS Miami reports. Authorities are asking for the public's help locating him and bringing him back into custody, CNN reports. The various official parties, however, dispute who is to blame:

  • "On Thursday, the Broward Sheriff’s Office received unequivocal direction from the State Attorney’s Office that the second degree murder charge on Eric Vail had been dismissed. We did not have and have not yet located any documentation stating the subject was to be held on another charge," the Broward Sheriff's Office says in a statement.
  • "After speaking again with the Sheriff’s Office this morning, we are confident that the State Attorney’s Office correctly followed all procedures and provided the relevant paperwork through the proper channels," the Broward State Attorney's Office says in its own statement.
  • The Broward Clerk of Courts also released a statement saying it "properly distributed documentation" in the case to all required parties.
Vail's grandmother tells WSVN she saw him Friday and that he is "innocent until proven guilty." Anyone with information is asked to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. (Read more Florida stories.)

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