Skooter reports 02/02/13
A convicted murderer who was erroneously released after a Chicago court appearance was being hunted down by authorities in Illinois and Indiana Friday as questions spun about what caused the confusion and why he was taken from his Indiana prison cell in the first place.
The 44-year-old Steven L. Robbins was serving a 60-year sentence for murder in Indiana and was taken to Chicago this week in a separate case relating to drug and armed violence charges, a case that a prosecutor revealed Friday had already been dismissed in 2007.
After he was presented before a Cook County Circuit Court judge, Robbins was brought to the Cook County Jail on Chicago's South Side and was released hours later, instead of being sent back to Indiana to continue serving his murder sentence. He was free for about 24 hours without alerting the public.
As far as his release, the Cook County Sheriff's Office said that there might have been a clerical error. It was reported that when Robbins was brought back to Cook County Jail, there was no paperwork in his file to say that he should be held, raising the possibility that it was misplaced, spokesman Frank Bilecki said.
However, the Indiana Department of Corrections says otherwise that it submitted paperwork telling Illinois officials that Robbins was supposed to be returned to Indiana.
On Friday, Federal and local law enforcement officers on the trail for Robbins were knocking on doors in Illinois and Indiana, including those of his friends and relatives, Bilecki said. A reward of $10,000 for information leading to his arrest was offered by the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service.
A native of Gary, Ind., Robbins was serving a sentence for murder and weapons convictions out of Marion County in Indiana.