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‘He is now a fugitive’: Search underway for murderer released early

By Taggart Houck

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    GREENVILLE, South Carolina (WYFF) — SLED is urging convicted murderer Jeriod Price to turn himself in after the South Carolina Supreme Court voided his early release.

In 2003, Price was convicted of killing Carl Smalls, Jr. in a Columbia nightclub.

He served 19 years of his 35-year sentence before a secret hearing led to his release last month.

“Yesterday, Price had the opportunity to turn himself in. He has not done that. He is now a fugitive and we’re actively looking for him,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, who is now offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Lott was joined Thursday by the family of Price’s victim, Carl Smalls, Jr.

“Our whole life’s been turned upside down all over again,” said Smalls’ father. “It’s like a spin cycle in the washing machine. You’re bouncing from side to side.”

“Every minute that Price is out in our community, he is a danger to our community, but he is causing suffering to this family behind me. We can stop that,” Lott said.

It’s a manhunt the state hoped to avoid by asking the Supreme Court for a bench warrant last Friday.

“There was no bond on him, he wasn’t on probation, he was as free as you or me to come and go and leave the state,” said Attorney General Alan Wilson. “There was nothing.”

Instead, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued a bench warrant for his arrest shortly after a hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Price’s release is raising questions about the justice system.

Attorney General Alan Wilson said he’s committed to finding answers.

“Let’s get him back in jail and then let’s look at everything that happened, not just with this particular case, but I understand that there’s a lot of other anecdotal cases out there where people may have been released prematurely because the rules weren’t followed,” Wilson said. “My goal is to give you and the people who watch this broadcast as many answers as we can.”

Price was released from prison in New Mexico, where he had been serving time. He has reportedly been in South Carolina since his release last month.

If you have any information on Price’s whereabouts, you are urged to contact SLED at (803) 737-9000 or email tips@sled.sc.gov.

You can also contact Midlands CrimeStoppers through the Tips Hotline at 888-CRIME-SC.

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