Prince George’s police seek mistakenly released murder suspect

November 20, 2011

A murder suspect awaiting trial in a March slaying in Prince George’s County was mistakenly released from jail this month, and police are seeking help from the public as they search for him.

Frederick L. Scott, 24, of Chillum was arrested May 5 in connection with the shooting death of Phillip Watson, 30, of Southeast Washington, according to Prince George’s police. Scott, who is charged with first-degree murder, had been held by the Prince George’s Corrections Department before a clerical error at the courthouse led to his being released on bond Nov. 10, police said Sunday.

Scott, police said, left after the bond was posted. Officials said he was released for more than a week before authorities noticed the error Friday. The court then issued a bench warrant for his arrest, and he has not been found.

It was unclear Sunday what exactly the error was or who was responsible for it, and it also was unclear why it took so long for authorities to notice that Scott had been released. The Prince George’s courthouse was closed Sunday, and court officials could not be reached for comment.

Thomas C. Mooney, who was listed in court records as Scott’s defense attorney, did not return messages Sunday.


The Prince George’s County Police Department’s Homicide Unit is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Fredrick Lawrence Scott. (Pr. George's County Police Department)

Watson was shot about 1 a.m. March 4, after a fight at the Surf Club on Kenilworth Avenue in Edmonston spilled outside, authorities said. Watson, who was shot several times, died hours later at a hospital.

Authorities have yet to determine a motive in the killing, said Cpl. Henry Tippett, a spokesman for the Prince George’s police.

Scott was arrested in Las Vegas two months after the shooting and extradited to Prince George’s, where he was to be held without bond, police said.

Scott’s release followed a similar incident in July, when a man accused of felony murder escaped from D.C. Superior Court after he swapped courthouse identification bracelets with a man facing a misdemeanor drug charge.

In that case, authorities quickly realized the mistake, and James “Sticky” Brewer, 24, surrendered himself to U.S. Marshals without incident less than 24 hours later.

Police urge anyone with information about the case or Scott’s location to call the Prince George’s police Homicide Unit at (301) 772-4925. Callers who want to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 866-411 TIPS (8477).

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Caitlin Gibson covers Loudoun County for The Washington Post.
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