The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

February 2, 2013

Murderer mistakenly freed

(Continued)

CHICAGO —

As far as his release, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office suggested that also might have involved a clerical error. Spokesman Frank Bilecki said that when Robbins was taken back to Cook County Jail, there was no paperwork in his file indicating that he should be held, raising the possibility that it was misplaced.

But the Indiana Department of Corrections says it submitted paperwork telling Illinois officials that Robbins was supposed to be returned to Indiana.

“It’s quite clear that all of the paperwork from IDOC was in order, so that they would have known that he was supposed to be returned to us,” spokesman Douglas Garrison 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, Bilecki said.

The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to his apprehension.

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 that 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.

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