Prosecutor: Iberville fugitive should face new charges when apprehended

Prosecutor: Iberville fugitive should face new charges when apprehended
Benjuiel Johnson (Source: Louisiana Department of Corrections)
Benjuiel Johnson (Source: Louisiana Department of Corrections)

PLAQUEMINE, LA (WAFB) - Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi wants it all to end. There is currently a multi-agency manhunt going on for Benjuiel Johnson, a Plaquemine man convicted of manslaughter with over 35 years left to spend behind bars.

"He knows that he needs to be in jail and he knows that he should turn himself in," said Sheriff Stassi. "Tell Mr. Benjueil Johnson to turn himself in to the nearest law enforcement officer that he finds and this case will be over."

Until then, the Sheriff's Office is working with Plaquemine Police and the US Marshal's Office. Questions are now emerging as to whether Johnson will face new charges when he is found or turns himself in.

Johnson's mother blames the prison for making the mistake, but prosecutors say Johnson is still breaking the law by walking free.

"It's not like he's some innocent person who for some inexplicable reason was left out of prison. He knew that he had 35-plus more years to give to people in the state of Louisiana," said prosecutor Tony Clayton, who assisted in Johnson's 2013 manslaughter conviction.

Clayton said Johnson should now be charged with escape and eluding police.

"It's the same as you open your bank account and there's erroneously $1 million in your account," said Clayton. "That doesn't give you the right to go spend it. You just can't unjustly enriched yourself and he can't just unjustly free himself."

Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of Johnson. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections -- Corrections Services is also offering a separate and independent reward of $1,000.

Johnson is a black male, 5'10" tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. He has a tattoo on his left arm that reads "Timed Up" and a tattoo on his right arm that reads "Keyleon."

"We are going to continue to search until he's brought back to where he belongs - prison," said Sheriff Stassi.

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