Davidson County Clerk’s Office Admits Error in Freeing Murder Defendant

DAVIDSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Davidson County Clerk of Court’s office admitted to News 2 that they made a mistake. That mistake allowed a suspected killer to go undetected and pursue his victim across state lines.

The victim’s father said it was like letting an animal out of a cage.

Bricen Rivers was able to leave prison without any of his probation terms being in effect.

“It’s like a sinking feeling in your stomach when you see what happened to the victim and you realize we made a mistake,” said Chief Deputy Clerk of Court Julius Sloss.

Sloss said the bail agent for Rivers did not convey to him the judge’s conditions for his release.

One of them was a GPS monitor to keep Rivers in Nashville and away from Lauren Johansen, 22. News 2 previously reported that Rivers was supposed to be monitored by GPS with a specific company. That company was not available and Rivers was eventually monitored by another company.

This violation was not brought to the attention of the prosecutor’s office until four days after the incident.

“Obviously, we feel bad for his family and what they’re going through right now,” Sloss said. “I can’t even imagine.”

Rivers’ history with the Nashville justice system began in December 2023, when Metro Police said they had arrested Rivers. At the time, he was charged with especially aggravated kidnapping and interference with an emergency call. He and Lauren were here on vacation.

She returned to Mississippi and he was in prison for seven months. Then, he got out. Sloss told News 2 that his office is working to ensure mistakes like these don’t happen again.

“We’ve already talked to our IT staff about possibly adding a red flag or something that can be put into the system so that when that employee goes to print out the jail release, it won’t allow them to print it until questions are asked,” Sloss said.

He added that the employee who made the mistake still works there.

“The person who oversees that area, I mean, is crying. Literally, tears are coming out,” Sloss said. “And of course, the person who made the mistake is a little distraught right now and wondering if they will still have a job or not. There will be some type of disciplinary action. We haven’t determined what that will be yet.”

At the time of publication, Rivers was being held on $1 million bail in Mississippi. A medical examiner is expected to assess Lauren’s cause of death.