Search Continues For Freed Murderer
Thomas Aaron Whitlock. Photo courtesy of the York County Sheriff's Office. Police in the Carolinas continue their search for Thomas Whitlock, a convicted murderer who was mistakenly freed from the York County Detention Center this week. Whitlock was convicted last May for the 2009 murder of a Charlotte man named Jamey Thompson. He was given an 11- to 14-year sentence and was serving his time at the Bertie Correctional Institution in eastern North Carolina. On February 8, he was transferred to the York County Detention Center to go to trial on previous drug charges. On Monday, he pleaded guilty, and a judge sentenced him to time served. And that's where the breakdown in the system started. The York County Sheriff's office isn't releasing details of what happened, but here's what spokesman Lieutenant Mike Baker says occurred after the sentencing. "So his obligation to the state of South Carolina was taken care of at that time," says Baker. "And, therefore, the release process was began-although in error-but it was began at that time." This was at approximately 3 p.m. on Monday, and authorities didn't discover the error until Tuesday afternoon. So far, Baker says no disciplinary action has been taken against any employees. Whitlock shot his victim, Jamey Thompson, at a condominium on Old Concord Road. Thompson's grandfather, Tyrone Leung, was watching the news last night when he heard his grandson's killer had been released. "And I heard the name, and they said, 'Thomas A. Whitlock,' says Leung. "I kinda woke up. They're saying that he escaped and walked off the system down in Rock Hill and I said, 'Man what is going on with these people? Y'all know you done brought a crook down here and you just let him up and walk out of the courthouse?'" The York County Sheriff's office is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the apprehension of Whitlock. Call the sheriff's office at 803-628-3059 or log on to YorkCrimestoppers.com. Press release from the York County Sheriff's Office.