Judge releases 2 dozen inmates from Fayette County jail

There's concern in Fayette County after a judge released more than two dozen inmates.

District Attorney General Mike Dunavant said Judge Mike Whitaker released 28 jail inmates this weekend on their own recognizance.

One of those inmates was Willie Smith. Hours after his release, Dunavant said Smith beat up his girlfriend and is now wanted on domestic violence charges.

Dunavant said Whitaker doesn't have the authority to release inmates without a bond hearing first.

"I'm concerned for the citizens of Fayette County and surrounding counties are being released without consideration of bond according to the law," said Dunavant.

Judge Whitaker was unwilling to tell Action News 5 reporter Andrew Douglas why he's releasing inmates.

"You can catch me at my office if you don't mind, I'm fixin to cut grass. I'm informal and I'm always willing to accomidate the news, but I'm busy. Ya'll have to catch me at 9:00. I'll be there but not here at the house. I'm fixin to cut grass," said Whitaker.

Dunavant says he's working with the Attorney General's office to see if Whitaker is breaking the law.

Stay tuned to Action News 5 and WMCTV.com for updates on this developing story.

Below is a complete list of inmates released from the Fayette County jail.

George McBride

Milton Edmonson

James Ward

Avery Cooper

Charles Becton

Juan Monray

Joe Huckabay

Deunte Fitzpatrick

Anthony Loeffler

Frank Battagalia

Shannnon Merkle

Ronnie Smith

Jelahni Bridgeforth

Steve Lopez

Michael Atwater

Tony Reed

Stephen Hicks

Tito Amati

J. W. Hodge

Ralph Walton

Jon Schindler

Romero Whitmore

Franklin Marshall

William Henderson

Troy Parker

Lawrence Blair

Antonio Kirby

Willie Smith