Wilbarger Co. Sheriff releases statement about ‘mistakenly’ release fugitive from jail

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Original post: The Wilbarger County Sheriff released a statement Saturday in regards to the release of what they said is a fugitive “mistakenly” from the Wilbarger County Jail on Wednesday, July 3.

Wilbarger County Sheriff Bill Price stated officials released Christopher Odell McManus on Wednesday for time served on several misdemeanor charges. Price said jail staff failed to check other charges for McManus before they released him after 75 days of incarceration.

McManus’ family reached out to Texoma’s Homepage to deny that McManus was considered a fugitive.

In a statement sent to Texoma’s Homepage just before 10 p.m. Saturday, the McManus family replied with the following statement:

A story was presented to the media in regards to a “fugitive” who was supposedly released by mistake. This is an inaccurate account of this event. Christopher McManus was not a fugitive. He was released on July 3 rd , after multiple administrators with Wilbarger County spoke to him and confirmed he had time served. Mr. McManus signed papers that were given to him by the county clerk from the district attorneys office. He asked a jailer multiple times “are you sure I can go?” to which the jailer replied “yes.” He walked out of the county jail with his belongings as a free man and was never stopped by someone from the jail. KFDX reported Mr. McManus as a fugitive, and a fugitive is someone who runs from the law. He was not running from anyone at all, as they knew where Mr. McManus was located. The District Attorney, Staley Heatly, is at fault for this complete and utter confusion. You cannot call a person a fugitive when you released them free of all charges and not on a furlough. It should also be noted that he did have two prior assault charges but served his time by doing day for day and never pled guilty to any charges after being released in 2015. Furthermore, along side of his family, Mr. McManus turned himself into the county jail without any resistance by cooperating with Sheriff Bill Price and the Wilbarger County jailers whom handled the situation in a respectable and professional manner unlike Staley Heatly and his staff. And yes, we have video of turning him over to the Sheriff as well. What the District Attorney stated to the media was a defamation of character and put him (Mr. McManus) in harms way. The DA portrayed Mr. McManus as someone who is on the same level as a murder, rapist, or bank robber. We would also like to state that since Mr. Heatly was awarded prosecutor of the year in Texas back in 2017 and according to page 29 of the December 2016 book entitled, ‘ Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission’ as chair of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association. It states that, ‘ Texas will take a big step forward in preventing wrongful convictions and ensuring justice for all.’ With that being said; we feel as though it is only fair that the citizens of the 46 th District know Mr. Staley Heatly’s conviction rates and the demographics of his convictions since began his term as The 46 th District Attorney back in December of 2006.

On behalf of Christopher McManus family

McManus is charged with a felony of bail jumping without bond.

In 2019, US Marshall’s Services located McManus in South Carolina, and he was extradited back to Texas.

According to Price, after he was notified on Friday that McManus had been released, he got in contact with a jail administrator to look into the incident.

On Friday, officials made contact with McManus’ family and informed them of the situation. Price stated they located McManus in the southeast part of Vernon, and McManus complied with authorities and handed himself over willingly.

McManus was then transported back into Wilbarger County Jail were he remains.

About 9 p.m. Friday, the District Attorny Staley Heatly released a statement asking Texomans to help officials locate McManus and stating the WCSO conducted an all-out search for McManus.

Following that notice, Heatly released a statement informing McManus had been taken into custody before midnight.

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