Steven L. Robbins got away due to a clerical error
A convicted murderer from Indiana, 44-year-old Steven L. Robbins, was recaptured a week after being mistakenly set free by law enforcement.Robbins has been freed after appearing in court in Chicago for a different offense. When charges were dismissed, so was he, because his paperwork did not indicate he was scheduled to return to Indiana.
As we reported before, the inmate still had 60 years on his sentence, prompting an urgent response from law enforcement. Daily Mail details that he was apprehended in Kankakee, 60 miles (96 km) from Chicago, on Friday, February 1.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart describes how not having the relevant paperwork allowed them to commit the error. He takes responsibility for letting the prisoner free and announces an investigation into the cause of the mistake.
“We’re not ducking the fact we dropped the ball. We made mistakes. [...] The public deserves much more. We’re going to find out what went wrong here,” Dart says in a press statement.
“It's our fault but we move 100,000 people a day and it's all done with paper,” he explains.
The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service have worked together on finding Robbins, even offering a $10,000 (€7,330) reward for information on his whereabouts.
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez argues that the inmate's appearance in court in Chicago was not necessary, stressing that he was only allowed a temporary transfer to Cook County because of his persistence.
“The Cook County Sherriff's Police, despite the fact that the assistant state's attorney told them that they didn't have to bring him back, they thought it would be better if they did bring him back to get this all cleared up because the guy keeps writing letters demanding trial,” Alvarez notes.
“They're the ones that signed off on allowing us to go get this guy,” Dart responded.