Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Hunt for murderer mistakenly freed in Chicago

CHICAGO — Authorities searched Friday for a convicted murderer from Indiana who was mistakenly released after a Chicago court appearance, as officials in Illinois admitted they lost paperwork directing them to return him to Indiana.

It turned out Steven L. Robbins didn’t even need to be brought to Chicago in the first place, and Cook County officials on Friday also pointed fingers over who was responsible for that mistake.

Robbins, 44, was serving a 60-year sentence for murder in Indiana and was escorted by Cook County sheriff’s deputies to Chicago this week for a court appearance in a separate case involving drug and armed violence charges – a case that had actually been dismissed in 2007.

After appearing before two Cook County Circuit Court judges, Robbins was taken to a jail on Chicago’s South Side. He was released hours later, instead of being sent back to Indiana to continue his murder sentence. The public was not alerted that he was on the loose for about 24 hours.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart on Friday took responsibility for Robbins’ release, saying a document showing he should be returned to Indiana disappeared while his deputies were transporting the prisoner, sometime between a Tuesday court appearance and his return to jail after a second court appearance Wednesday. Robbins was released Wednesday evening.

“We’re not ducking the fact we dropped the ball. We made mistakes,” Dart said. “The public deserves much more. We’re going to find out what went wrong here.”

But Dart and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, both prominent local Democrats, exchanged tense words about who should accept responsibility for having Robbins brought to Chicago from Indiana.

Alvarez said her office had told Dart’s office that it didn’t need to bring Robbins from Indiana because the drug and armed violence case was closed. But Dart’s office proceeded anyway, she said, because of confusion over the outcome of the case and because Robbins demanded to stand trial.

“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 told reporters.

But Dart said his office sought – and was granted – permission from the state attorney’s office to bring Robbins to Chicago. The sheriff showed The Associated Press a copy of the extradition request from September signed by one of Alvarez’s prosecutors.

“We can’t just go to any state in the country and say ‘You know what? We’re going to take someone out of your prison and bring him here.’ … They’re the ones that signed off on allowing us to go get this guy,” Dart said.

Dart also said that because of an antiquated computer system, his office thought an arrest warrant for Robbins in the case was still active, which is why it asked the state attorney’s office for permission to extradite Robbins.

“It’s our fault but we move 100,000 people a day and it’s all done with paper,” Dart said.

Federal and local law enforcement officers searching for Robbins were knocking on doors in Illinois and Indiana on Friday, including those of his friends and relatives, the sheriff’s office said. The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his apprehension.

In a late afternoon interview, Dart said there had been sightings of the fugitive and that authorities had been close to catching him.

Robbins, a Gary, Ind., native, was serving a sentence for murder and weapons convictions out of Marion County in Indiana.

Witnesses to the 2002 killing told police Robbins was arguing with his wife outside a birthday party in Indianapolis when a man intervened, telling Robbins he should not hit a woman, according to court documents. The witnesses said Robbins then retrieved a gun from a car and shot the man, Rutland Melton, in the chest before fleeing.

He started serving his sentence in October 2004 and his earliest projected release date was more than 16 years from now, on June 29, 2029.

It is not the first time a prisoner has been mistakenly freed from the Cook County Jail.

In 2009, Jonathan Cooper, who was serving a 30-year manslaughter sentence in Mississippi, was brought to Chicago to face charges that he failed to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors dropped the charges because, as an inmate, he could not comply with the Sex Offender Registration Act.

A clerk reportedly failed to include the Mississippi sentence information in Cooper’s file, and jail staff released him.

Cooper turned himself in several days later.

In a more recent embarrassment for law enforcement officials in Chicago, two convicted bank robbers escaped from a high-rise federal lockup in December by climbing down the side of the building on a rope made of bed sheets and jumping into a cab. Authorities recaptured both men, one of whom remained on the run for about two weeks. Officials have yet to provide a public explanation of the jailbreak.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Puppies to take part in Vallejo dog show

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
‘Same Time, Next Year’ opens in Benicia

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

‘We Got Next’ Comedy Tour stops at Dimitri’s

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Man to stand trial in rural Vacaville killing

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Afisivalu announces run for Fairfield council

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Tonnesen seeks Fairfield City Council seat

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Family matriarch celebrates 100th birthday

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Barbecue brings big crowd, progress to Parkway Gardens

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 5 Comments | Gallery

Town hall on crime set in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Assist-A-Grad wraps up interviews

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Napa County bridge to close for work

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Crash shuts I-80 offramp to Highway 12

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

Weather for April 18, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
Suisun City police log: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: April 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Putin’s choice of words shed light on Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Who gained, and what, at Ukraine talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Ukrainian unity on display with peaceful rallies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions – for now

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Salmon released in California river restoration

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Astronomers spot most Earth-like planet yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Jury convicts husband in Iraqi woman’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
1 dead, 1 injured in California boating accident

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

BART fined $210,000 for worker deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Military shell prompted evacuation of hundreds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
California health care sign-ups exceed projections

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Dirty creek, old purse solve four-decade mystery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3 1/2 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Chelsea Clinton expecting first child this fall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Holder: Hate crimes ‘an affront to who we are’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

Spate of Mideast virus infections raises concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Samples collected from oil slick not from plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

S. Sudan: 12 die after mob attacks UN base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Peru volcano prompts evacuation of 4,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Nigeria: Fate of 115 abducted girls unknown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

Confused, chaotic scene described on sinking ferry

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
.

Opinion

Internationally out of touch

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 4 Comments

 
Watch out for grandson scam

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

Why so much spent to find a plane?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 18, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Food brings back fond memories

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Today in History for April 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

My husband tells our sons that they don’t need to listen to me

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B13

 
Horoscopes for April 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B13

.

Entertainment

Week in preview April 18-24, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Review: ‘Heaven Is for Real’ heartfelt but dull

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lost radio program featuring Hank Williams found

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
‘Real Housewives’ TV star faces battery charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Ill, hospitalized Miley Cyrus postpones more shows

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Entertainment calendar April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Badminton update: Rodriguez, Armijo head toward post season

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
MEL boys roll to easy win over SCAC

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Short-handed SCAC girls ‘gut out’ all-star win over MEL

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Sharks beat Kings 6-3 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Dodgers get to Bumgarner early for win over Giants

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Clippers-Warriors series billed as must-see TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Kuchar builds on Masters momentum, shares Heritage lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
War of words in Northwestern-athletes’ union fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Shumenov gets big chance in ring against ageless Hopkins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Montreal team sign Chad Johnson to 2-year contract

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Seattle 1B Choi banned 50 games for positive test

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Dodgers’ Puig focuses on baseball despite issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Miguel Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Sponsorship woes put Swan Racing future in doubt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Ex-quarterback McNabb spends day in Arizona jail

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Season wrapup: Sacramento Kings’ ‘new era’ off to slow start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Boston Marathon makes room for more runners

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Stanford takes lead at LPGA LOTTE tournament

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Vanden clinches at least share of SCAC boys tennis title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Toyota Camry gets a top-to-bottom makeover

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Hot models at this year’s New York Auto Show

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Judge won’t order recalled GM cars to be parked

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Walmart jumps into the money transfer biz, loudly

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Sealwyn Shirley Brucefield Shepherd Malkiewicz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B12

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B13