Officials at Cook County Jail in Chicago have accidentally released an inmate convicted for murder in Indiana.
44-year-old Steven L. Robbins had been found guilty for murder and unlicensed possession of a handgun. He shot and killed a 24-year-old Kentucky resident 11 years ago.
The Sun Times
cites the Indiana Department of Corrections, noting he has been sentenced to 60 years in jail. On Tuesday, he temporarily left Indiana State Prison for Cook County Jail to be tried on separate charges in Illinois.
On Wednesday, January 30, he attended court to face “armed violence” allegations. He had been accused of using a weapon during a felony, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart's spokesman Frank Bilecki says.
At approximately 7 p.m., the 1992 case was dropped and Robbins was set free, even walking out using the main gate of the prison. According to the Chicago Tribune
, a mistake in his paperwork made it impossible for officers to know he was meant to remain in jail.
The Fugitive Warrant Unit only realized he had been freed the next day, when they attempted to make arrangements for a transfer back to Indiana.
The FBI and U.S. Marshal's Service were immediately alerted, and warrants were made out in the prisoner's name for the states of Illinois and Indiana.
The public weren't immediately notified about the murderer being on the loose, as law enforcement agencies tried to locate him without having him know they were after him.
“We were trying to hit all the spots where we thought he might be before he became aware that we were looking for him,” Bilecki clarifies.
His ex-wife, Nicole Robbins, has been questioned on the whereabouts of the fugitive and has stated she couldn't provide any information.
“He was mistakenly released? I haven't heard from him. [...] I don't know where he is,” she says.