Pine Bluff Man out of Jail Because of Mistake in Trial Timing

A Pine Bluff man is out of jail after a deadline for his trial was missed. According to the Jefferson County Prosecutor Kyle Hunter, a trial must be held within 9 months to be deemed a speedy trial. The judge set 20 year-old Michael Merritt's trial date for a time period outside of the 9 months, so Merritt was released after spending time in jail.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Kyle Hunter told KATV, this timing error was something they should have caught.

We would hope that our deputy prosecutors that work in that division would have caught that, but that did not happen in this case," Hunter said. "In this instance it was not caught and the nine months passed by the time anyone had noticed."

Merritt is charged with aggravated robbery and first degree battery after police say he robbed an EZ Mart in Pine Bluff at gun point and shot a store attendee.

His trial is set for Oct. 23. Until, then Merritt is free to be in Pine Bluff. One Pine Bluff citizen voiced her concern today.

"We're not exactly sure what could happen while they're out waiting for their court date. I think it doesn't make a lot of sense and it doesn't make me feel safe as a resident," Kim Jones Sneed said.