HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A Henrico man who has been unlawfully detained behind bars for almost three months will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving with his family after all.
NBC12 cameras captured the moment Samuel Daniels' was released, but the road to get there wasn't easy.
Daniels waited nine hours for the release to finally happen. His fiancee, Pamala Jones, waited for hours in the lobby. There was confusion over jurisdiction between the Virginia Department of Corrections and Henrico County. Daniels' attorney James Rivera said Henrico deputies thought the jail needed an order from the DOC. NBC12 reporter Ashley Monfort called Henrico Sheriff Mike Wade to clarify what was going on. Wade then called the head of the Virginia Department of Corrections. Daniels was released within minutes.
"Thank you Jesus," said Jones upon hearing of the release. NBC12 cameras captured the moment Jones saw Daniels. NBC12 asked Daniels to describe how he was feeling. "Freedom," he said. "Freedom. Getting home. Getting out of that place."
It's been a long, hard road for Daniels and his family who was twice told by a judge he was a free man only to be told by the Virginia Department of Corrections, under the guidance of the Virginia Attorney General's office, that he had to stay behind bars. The first time was in September when Henrico Judge Gary Hicks suspended the remainder of Daniels' sentence, after Daniels successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program. During that time Daniels was transferred to a state prison, where the Virginia Attorney General's office tried to argue the judge's order was invalid and the court did not have jurisdiction.
Daniels remained in a state prison for almost two months, then NBC12 got involved. NBC12 reporter Ashley Monfort even asked Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring about the case and Daniels spoke from prison about the ordeal. Two weeks later, a new court date was set where Rivera successfully argued Daniels had been unlawfully detained and the court had jurisdiction in the case. A release order was issued a second time.
Now that Daniels is free, this couple wants to move on with their lives. "Happy," says Jones. "I'm just happy. I'm glad it's over, I'm glad it's over," Daniels said. "Always get a woman like this one. A nagging woman who will stay by your side. She will nag everybody to help you out. Good back bone. She's my best friend too."
Daniels acknowledges he is a guilty man. The manufacturing drug charge will stay on his record, but he believes he was given a second chance. "I gots [sic] to turn over a new leaf. I just gots [sic] to stay with my family," Daniels said. "I'm going to make sure I go to some meetings too to make sure I don't relapse. I'm trying not to slip again."
Daniels remains on probation.
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