Steven Robbins, convicted killer, back in custody

Steven Robbins (courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's Department)

February 2, 2013 8:17:58 PM PST
A convicted murderer is back behind bars in Indiana.

Steve Robbins was mistakenly released from Cook County Jail because of a clerical error.

Police found in a home in Kankakee watching television.

On the quiet Kankakee block where Robbins was found neighbors still can't believe it.

The 44-year-old convicted killer shielded his face with a hoodie before sheriff's deputies handed him over to authorities in Indiana.

He was taken into custody just before 11 p.m. Friday night after a relative provided a tip that he was at this home with a woman and her two kids.

"She had been led to believe by a person who had dropped him off that the defendant had someone threatening him, that he had gotten in a fight and could he just stay there for a little bit, and then they'd come pick him up," said Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.

Robbins arrived wearing a wig, carrying groceries as Dart and more than 20 deputies watched and waited.

"We let him settle in, and then we came in there, and he was rather shocked to see me," Dart said.

Robbins had been serving a 60-year sentence at this prison in Michigan City, Indiana, but was mistakenly released from the Cook County Jail on Tuesday.

He'd been brought here apparently to clear from the books a two decades-old outstanding warrant, a move State's Attorney Anita Alvarez called unnecessary.

"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," Alvarez said.

Dart admits his department misplaced paper work, leading to the mistake, but blames the county's record-keeping system.

"Unfortunately in this day and age, we still are a paper-driven system, not because we want to but because there are no computer systems that we have been able to get the money for to allow us to do this," Dart said.

Sheriff Dart says it is unlikely Robbins will face an escape charge, which would require him to once again be returned to Chicago.

Dart says whoever helped him get to Kankakee could face charges. That's still being investigated.