The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

February 2, 2013

Hunt for murderer mistakenly freed in Chicago

(Continued)

CHICAGO —

"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.

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