LITTLE ROCK, AR — The Arkansas Department of Community Correction is under fire over the murder of a Little Rock man.
Family members describe 18-year-old Forrest Abrams(pictured) as a “loving young man with a warm heart and a kind spirit.”
Little Rock Police found his body dumped near 11th Street and Woodrow early in the morning on May 10th.
Investigators believe Abrams was murdered by 47-year-old Darrell Dennis during a robbery.
“If the Department of Community Correction had followed its own policies Mr. Dennis would be behind bars today and Mr. Abrams would still be alive,” said State Senator David Sanders(R-Little Rock).
Department of Community Correction records show Dennis was released from prison in 2008 after serving less than a third of a 60-year sentence.
In the five years that followed, Dennis was accused of violating terms of his parole more than 10 times and had multiple felony arrests.
“It points to system failure in a glaring way,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.
After an arrest on April 3rd of this year, documents show a parole officer asked for a hearing to determine whether Dennis should be returned to prison.
But he was released, arrested two weeks later and released again without a hearing ever being held.
Two days after the final release, he’s accused of killing Abrams.
Spokeswoman Rhonda Sharp said D.C.C. signed off on Dennis’ releases at the request of jail staff. Since then, policy has been changed to deny release for offenders awaiting parole hearings, Sharp said.
She defended her department’s handling of Darrell Dennis.
“D.C.C. supervised this offender to the best of its ability,” she said.
On Monday, the family of Forrest Abrams released the below statement:
“The family of Forrest Abrams is devastated by his loss. Forrest was a loving young man with a warm heart and a kind spirit. It is the family’s wish that these things be remembered in his honor.
If what we have seen and read is true, it appears there has been a systemic failure on the part of the Department of Community Corrections, to ensure that violent offenders are kept off the streets of our cities.
It is our hope that further light will be shed on the matters, and that measures will be taken to prevent such instances from occurring in the future so that other citizens, and their families, may be spared needless tragedy.
We wish to thank the Little Rock Police Department for their ongoing efforts to bring justice to those directly responsible for Forrest’s death. In addition, we are most grateful for the thoughts and prayers of the community.”