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Prison inmate sentenced to 40 years mistakenly released after only four years

A Texas prison inmate mistakenly released 36 years early was re-arrested after approaching his victim in a bar and apologizing for shooting him in the head.

Willie Joe McAdams had been sentenced to 40 years in prison, but because of a clerical error, he was released in May after just four years, said Michelle Lyons, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman.

McAdams shot Cedric Thomas in a sports bar in March 2003, blinding him in one eye. Thomas was stunned when McAdams approached him in a bar during the July 4 weekend, shook Thomas' hand and apologized.

"What if he still had malice in his heart and wanted to kill me?" Thomas said.

McAdams was re-arrested on Thursday. He will be eligible for parole in 16 years.

Lyons said the mistake occurred while McAdams' personal information was being keyed in during his 2004 transfer to the prison system. Such clerical errors are rare, she said.

Harris County District Attorney investigator Johnny Bonds said someone within the prison system wrote "4" instead of "40" years for McAdams' sentence, so he was discharged without even being put on parole. The prison system has launched an internal affairs investigation.

"Somebody dropped the ball, that's for sure," Bonds said.

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