Clerical error responsible for Chattanooga cold case murder suspect's release

Clerical error responsible for Chattanooga cold case murder suspect's release

January 29th, 2014 by David Cobb in Local Regional News

Adolphus Hollingsworth

Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Times Free Press.

When Chattanooga police held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Friday to announce that an arrest had been made in a 16-year-old cold case, the murder suspect was actually on the loose and likely on a cross-country drive.

Police said Adolphus Hollingsworth had been arrested in Amarillo, Texas, and charged in the 1997 slaying of his then-wife, Victoria Witherspoon Carr.

But a misdirected teletype by a new clerk at The Potter County (Texas) Detention Center had resulted in Hollingsworth mistakenly being set free the day before, was responsible for last week's mistaken accidental release of Adolphus Hollingsworth, Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas confirmed Tuesday.

After his release from custody prison in Texas, Hollingsworth was arrested Saturday in Ohio where he is currently being held without bond and awaiting extradition to Chattanooga once again in connection with the 1997 slaying of his then-wife, Victoria Witherspoon Carr.

Thomas said that an employee who handles in-state extraditions at the Potter County facility saw that Hollingsworth was to be extradited to Hamilton County and assumed that meant Hamilton County, Texas.

Authorities in Hamilton County, Texas, responded and said to let Hollingsworth go because they did not have a warrant on him.

"It's one of these deals where it's just a clerical mistake," said Thomas. who added that a supervisor also did not catch the mix-up. "Everyone makes a mistake. It was nothing malicious, and it's unfortunate it happened on a case making national news."

Amarillo authorities had arrested Hollingsworth, 44, a week ago today without incident at his home in Amarillo on a warrant out of Hamilton County, Tenn.

The Potter County Detention Center booked him at 12:30 p.m. that day, but he walked free at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

When the Chattanooga Police Department held a news conference Friday at 1:30 p.m. to announce that Hollingsworth had been captured and would soon be extradited to Hamilton County, Hollingsworth was actually loose and likely on a cross-country drive.

Thomas found out about Hollingsworth's release from prison in Potter County at 4 p.m. Friday, more than 24 hours after it occurred and just after the news conference in Chattanooga that touted his capture.

The Chattanooga Police Department did not return calls Tuesday regarding when they learned that Hollingsworth was free.

Police in Rossford, Ohio, and the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force apprehended Hollingsworth Saturday at the Knight's Inn Motel in Rossford.

Contact staff writer David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6731.