Los Angeles, CA — A man charged with murder was accidentally released from jail last month because of a clerical error. The man, Johnny Mata, 32, was let go from the Los Angeles Inmate Reception Center on April 4.
Captain Chuck Atuna, who heads the center, announced the error on Friday. Mata was in custody last month for a case that was dismissed. But prosecutors filed a new murder charge against him for a 2010 alleged gang shooting in Baldwin Park.
Mata was released from the center before a clerk could enter in the new hold for him. The next day, authorities realized the error in letting the murder suspect go. A statement by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department added:
“Mata’s released should not have occurred because a murder charge had been filed by the District Attorney and a processing clerk had not yet entered it as a ‘hold’ on inmate Mata.”
The murder suspect was arrested on May 25, 2012 by the El Monte Police Department. His last court date was April 3, 2013 — the day before he was accidentally released. The department revealed Johnny Mata’s released after a month of searching for him with no results.
Atunna added of the search, “We are concerned and we are looking for the public’s assistance in locating Mr. Mata. We consider him a danger to the community.” Atunna further stated that the department, which processes over 150,000 inmate releases per year, has accidentally released seven other inmates since 2012. Of the inmates accidentally released, Mata is the only one that has not been re-captured.
Mata is described as a Latino man standing six feet, one inch tall. He weighs 197 pounds. Anyone with information on the murder suspect is asked to call sheriff’s homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous tipsters can also call LA Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.
It is not known what Mata’s original crime was.