Steven Robbins, convicted murderer from Indiana, recaptured after being freed

Cook County authorities embarrassed by release

CHICAGO - A convicted murderer who was allowed to walk out of the Cook County, Ill. Jail Wednesday night was taken into custody late Friday night.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said Steven L. Robbins, 44, was taken into custody without incident.

The Cook County Sheriff's Office made the arrest in the 400 block of Frasier Ave. in Kankakee, Ill. Dart said various leads and interviews with family, friends and acquaintances of Robbins helped police determine his location and coordinate his capture, WLS-TV reported.

Earlier in the day Friday, Dart met with reporters to explain how Robbins was accidentally released Wednesday night.

It appears to have been a clerical error, a very embarrassing clerical error, in a system that is still heavily reliant on the passage of paper.

"We let people down and we're going to fix this," Dart said Friday afternoon.

Robbins was convicted 10 years ago of murder in Indianapolis. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison in Michigan City.

He was taken to Illinois on Tuesday to face a 20-year-old criminal warrant in Cook County.

Authorities intended to clear the outstanding warrant from the books. After Illinois proceedings, Robbins should have been returned to Indiana, but the jail saw only that the Cook County charge had been dismissed, allowing Robbins to go free.

Robbins walked out in civilian clothing from Goodwill given to him by the jail, WLS reported. The state's attorney said there was no need to bring Robbins to Cook County in the first place.

"The sheriff's police and their extradition unit and fugitive warrant unit asked for us to bring him back, and they actually have the responsibility to bring him back," said Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. "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."

Robbins was 16 years away from being eligible for parole.

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