BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The suspect in a fatal shooting at a Kingsport convenience store was on pre-trial release from the Sullivan County Jail at the time of the shooting.
Brandon J. Castle, 26 of Kingsport, was charged with second-degree murder after police say he shot and killed another man Monday morning outside of the Zoomers gas station at the intersection of Fort Henry Drive and Eastman Road.
Kingsport police say Castle was arrested the next day while attempting to sell illegal drugs to undercover officers at a car wash.
The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Thursday night that Castle was released from the county jail on March 9 as part of the pre-trial release program.
According to SCSO, Castle was booked into the jail on March 1 on a failure to appear charge he received in December for driving on a suspended or revoked license, expired license plates, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The pre-trial release program is for non-violent offenders who are unable to post bond. Had Castle posted his bond, he would have been released anyway according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office says pre-trial release has been granted to more than 175 inmates since the program began.
“Castle’s charges and criminal history were reviewed as are all pre-trial release candidates,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Lt. Andy Seabolt told News Channel 11 in an email. “The review of his charges and criminal history placed him as eligible for the pre-trial release program.”
Seabolt said Castle’s case was brought before a judge, who approved him for pre-trial release. All pre-trial releases must be reviewed by a judge.
“Due to the fact that Castle’s charges were non-violent, his release was approved at the minimum level of supervision and he was released from the Sullivan County Jail on March 9, 2020,” Seabolt said.
The minimum level of supervision is comprised of the following requirements:
- Initial pre-release meeting with a pre-trial officer
- Provide contact information and sign the pre-trial agreement
- Receive a phone call from a pre-trial officer prior to each court date
- Defendant will provide verification of court attendance
- Pre-trial officer will document and keep record of court attendance
Sheriff Jeff Cassidy came up with the pre-trial release program to alleviate overcrowding in the county jail. The county commission approved funding for the program back in November.