Authorities explore how convicted murderer was mistakenly released

Cook County Sheriff blames 'clerical error'

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. - U.S. Marshals are now involved in the search for Hoosier Steven Robbins, a convicted murderer who was accidentally let go by Illinois authorities, and officials are trying to determine exactly how the mistake was made.

Robbins, who was serving a 60-year sentence for murder, was released from police custody in Cook County, after showing up to court for a drug and armed violence charge from 1992.

Officials said he didn't even need to be in court in the first place.

"Several days prior to him being brought here, one of our assistant state's attorneys told the Cook County Sheriff's police that there was no need to bring him back, because the case had been dismissed back In 2007," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Still, Robbins was taken to Illinois, and Indiana prison officials sent paperwork making it very clear he was to come back to prison in Indiana.

"In this case, the release paperwork has quite clearly stamped on it, 'Do not release this offender from court,'" said Douglas Garrison, with the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Alvarez said the judge clearly indicated that Robbins should be returned to Indiana's prison.

"The judge made it clear on the record that he had no pending case anymore in Illinois, in Cook County, and that he still had to serve his Indiana time," Alvarez said. "Now, what happened after that, you'll have to ask the sheriff's office."

The Cook County sheriff said they seem to have made an error, but they intend to correct the mistake.

"Our initial investigation appears to be a clerical error," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. "No way are we ducking responsibility. We let people down, and we're going to fix this."

Robbins' ex-wife lives in Indiana, and she said she is concerned for her former husband.

"I know he's a good guy, I'm scared for him because they might kill him, but it's their mistake," said Nicole Robbins. "He's not no serial killer or nothing like that."

Robbins is considered dangerous.

The FBI and Marshals Service are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

Robbins is described as a black male, approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and 190 pounds. He has a tattoo on the right side of his neck that says "Nicole."

Robbins is 16 years away from being eligible for parole.

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