A man who picked up a murder charge after he was mistakenly released from jail last year was ordered Thursday to serve 17½ years in prison on unrelated Spotsylvania County convictions.

Najuon D. Courtney, 22, was convicted of charges that include armed burglary and attempted robbery in connection with a Feb. 23, 2018, home-invasion robbery at a townhouse on Lafayette Boulevard in Spotsylvania.

Judge Ricardo Rigual was prepared to sentence Courtney on those convictions last September when it was learned that he was no longer in the Rappahannock Regional Jail. He had been released in July as the result of an apparent miscommunication between the jail and the court system.

Courtney was arrested again in November in the Mayfield area of Fredericksburg. By then he and another man been charged with murder in connection with the Oct. 21 slaying of a young man during an alleged drug transaction in Prince William County.

Courtney has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Aug. 18 in Prince William General District Court on the murder charge.

The sentence handed down by Rigual on Thursday in Spotsylvania Circuit Court was well above the recommended state sentencing guidelines, which called for a maximum penalty of six years and two months.Courtney still has pending charges in Spotsylvania, along with his far more serious charges in Prince William.

Speaking via video camera, Courtney said he wanted the chance to spend time with his young daughter and claimed he knows nothing about the murder charge he’s facing.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404

kepps@freelancestar.com

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