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Mistakenly released inmate told cops he wasn’t supposed to be freed

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A slaying suspect mistakenly released from the Newport News City Jail says he told deputies that he wasn’t supposed to be freed.

A judge ordered Eric Nixon’s release on a misdemeanor assault charge on Oct. 9. Nixon told WAVY-TV that he told the deputies he was supposed to be transferred to the city jail in Hampton, where he faces a murder charge and several other felony counts.

“I said, ‘I’m going to Hampton,’ and [Newport News deputies] said, ‘No, you aren’t. You are going home,'” Nixon said.

Newport News Sheriff Gabe Morgan said that a check of a national database found no outstanding warrants against Nixon. His office then contacted the Hampton Sheriff’s Office Record Division and was told that there were no charges against Nixon in Hampton.

“He said, ‘I’m not supposed to be released,’ so normally bad guys don’t tell us, ‘We’re not supposed to be released.’ … It did raise a red flag, absolutely, absolutely,” Morgan told WAVY.

Major Steven Rich, the Hampton jail administrator, denied that the Newport News Sheriff’s Office contacted Hampton authorities regarding Nixon.

“They never called us. … We have no documentation they called,” Rich told WAVY.

Nixon was 17 when he was charged in Hampton this summer with the slaying of Raphael Davis. He was held at a juvenile facility in Newport News until he turned 18 in September, and the Hampton juvenile intake supervisor ordered his transfer to the Hampton City Jail.

But the Hampton jail wouldn’t accept Nixon because of a paperwork problem. Hampton deputies returned Nixon to Newport News and took him to that city’s jail to be held on the assault charge, which stemmed from an incident while he was in custody at the juvenile facility. The commitment order given to the Newport News Jail said criminal charges against Nixon were pending in Hampton, but it did not specify what the charges were.

“The felonies trump the misdemeanor,” Morgan said.

After Nixon was released, he called his mother, Alfreda McCoy.

“I said, ‘Hello,’ and he said, ‘It’s Eric.’ He was all panicky. He says, ‘Mom, they let me out.’ I said, ‘What do you mean they let you out?’ I said, ‘Eric, stop playing.’ He said, ‘Mom they let me out of jail,'” McCoy told WAVY.

McCoy took Nixon to Hampton authorities and reported the mistaken release. Nixon was then taken into custody.

“I think they are a bunch of idiots. … They don’t know what each other is doing,” McCoy said.

“Thank God my son was OK. I know he is innocent, and it was dangerous for him to be on the street,” McCoy said.