David Jura-prisoner released too early

David Jura

Some early released prisoners checked themselves back into prison. Some were brought back by force. Some surrendered peacefully.

And then there was David Jura.

As state officials provided the latest update Wednesday in their roundup of prisoners whose sentences were mistakenly cut short, an Omaha police account provided insight into the dangers that officers encounter as they work to clean up the state’s mess.

In short: Jura’s capture involved a chase, a Taser and a gun with a defaced serial number.

But first, the numbers:

A World-Herald investigation prompted state officials to add more than 2,000 years, collectively, to the sentences of at least 750 prisoners. Of those, more than 550 remain in prison — but now face longer stays.

Of the about 200 prisoners who were released too soon, Gov. Dave Heineman’s office now has identified 43 people who meet Heineman’s criteria to be rounded up to finish their sentences, up from 41 last week.

Of those:

         • Twenty had arrest warrants issued.

         • Twenty-one have been placed on parole, in furlough programs for prisoners who are close to entering society or on a furlough waiting list.

         • Two are in custody elsewhere: one at the Norfolk Regional Center, one in prison in Oklahoma.

One should-be prisoner was deported, and one is dead.

Police are still looking for three of the 20 people wanted on warrants.

Jura had been one of those sought.

At 10 p.m. Saturday, Omaha police responded to a 911 call about a man urinating in a yard near 32nd and Y Streets.

Officers went there and caught up to a man in a tank top and baggy jeans.

Officers Michael Young and Justin Rudloff stopped the man and noticed that his shirt was ripped, his face was red and his breathing was rapid.

They asked for identification. His name: David K. Jura.

Officers told Jura to sit tight and went back to their cruiser to run Jura’s name through a computer.

That computer database showed Jura listed under a never-before-used classification: Escape — Premature Release.

The entry went on to say that Jura was “Wanted for premature release from Corrections ... (Nebraska) Attorney Generals Office.”

Before the officers could sift through that entry, Jura took off running. He sprinted across 30th Street into an empty lot. The officers gave chase and said they noticed Jura reaching for his waistband as he ran.

At that, officers closed in and fired a Taser at Jura. He collapsed.

Next to him: a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun with the serial number scratched off.

The handgun had no magazine of bullets. However, it had one spent shell casing still lodged in the barrel — indicating that it had been fired at some point.

With Jura in custody, officers returned to their computer search of his record. What they discovered: Jura indeed had been released “prematurely” from prison.

His original crime was shooting his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in the head in November 2009.

The boyfriend, Anthony Flud, survived. And he was able to describe a feud that Jura was having with him over the mother of Jura’s child. Flud had begun dating the woman in 2008.

On Nov. 1, 2009, Flud was driving a pickup truck when he spotted Jura eyeballing him from a car in an alley.

Flud passed by. Jura — a Lomas gang member known as “Little David” — pulled out and gave chase.

Flud began swerving as the vehicles approached 46th and L Streets. Jura pulled out a gun and fired at least twice through Flud’s back windshield.

The next thing Flud heard was ringing in his ears.

Blood dripping from the back of his neck, he stepped on the gas and raced to the parking lot of Beer City, a bar near 42nd and L Streets.

The bullet entered the back of his head and exited near his left ear.

“I didn’t know if I was going to live or die,” he said later.

Rushed to a hospital, Flud survived. He identified Jura as the “(expletive) who shot me.”

“The dude’s a punk,” Flud said in a sworn statement. “I ain’t scared of him. He’s a punk, straight up.”

Jura pleaded no contest to charges of first-degree assault and firing a gun into a car.

Under the sentence handed down by Judge Marlon Polk, Jura was supposed to be in prison until June 2015.

But using a flawed formula that didn’t fully take into account his mandatory term for the gun charge, prison officials released Jura in December 2013.

Omaha police union officials said no one has to look far to see how Jura’s recapture could have ended.

Police were in a similar position in September 2012. Responding to a call of shots fired, two officers arrived and found a gang member with a gun. Jermaine Lucas first dropped the gun. When he lunged to pick it up, officers shot and killed him.

They discovered that Lucas was on his 11th weekend furlough from prison.

Lucas — known as Jermaine “the Brain” — became a poster boy for outrage over Nebraska prison officials’ practice of releasing inmates for weekend furloughs.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, among others, complained that prison officials had not notified law enforcement that they were letting prisoners spend weekends at home — in some cases years before their release date.

Now it turns out that Lucas shouldn’t have been eligible for the furlough.

The World-Herald’s investigation showed that prison officials incorrectly shaved 18 months off his sentence. Had they gotten it right, he wouldn’t have been eligible for weekend furloughs until months after Corrections made him eligible.

A police officer put it this way: Lucas presumably would still be alive if “prison officials could do their math.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1275, todd.cooper@owh.com

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