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Gay Bar Hate Crime Suspect Is Caught After Being Accidentally Released
Deputies have recaptured a man they accidentally released who made threats alluding to one of the worst mass shootings in the country.
Shane Sleeper, a Chicago gay bar hate crime suspect who alluded to the Pulse nightclub shooting, was apprehended on Thursday, two days after the sheriff’s office mistakenly set him free, a Cook County Sheriff's spokesperson told ABC 7 News in Chicago.
Sleeper, 31, was released on Tuesday because the sheriff's office believed the charges against him were dropped. They were — but only because his misdemeanors were turned into federal charges. Also, the sheriff's office didn't realize he was given no bail, according to WMAQ-TV.
Sleeper was arrested and charged in February after he was named in six separate cases of harassment.
He was charged with several misdemeanors, including harassment, assault and resisting police. In court on Tuesday, his charges were upgraded to the felony level and they included making a terrorist threat, harassment through electronics, trespassing, stalking and false impersonation of a police officer, the state’s attorney’s office said, according to WMAQ-TV.
However, the sheriff's office apparently didn't know about the new charges, only that the prior ones had been dismissed.
So how did the mixup happen? The state’s attorney’s office said the mix up happened between the clerk's office and the sheriff's office. They said they do "not play any role in the transfer of paperwork between the clerk and sheriff."
The Office of the Clerk of the Court also released a statement Thursday afternoon, according to ABC 7 News.
"It is the Clerk's Office's understanding that the Sheriff's Office's normal processes and procedures are to do thorough reviews of judge's orders on ALL OF A DEFENDANT'S CASES prior to a defendant's release. It appears that the Sheriff did not follow its normal procedures for all of Shane Sleeper's cases."
The clerk's office said Sleeper was in court at 11 a.m., according to ABC 7 News, and that Sleeper's paperwork was ready four and a half hours later. The put the blame on the sheriff's office for not waiting for the paperwork. The clerk's office said they put the bail information into a computer at 5:26 p.m.
The sheriff's office said that at 10:30 a.m. the computer system said "defendant to be released," and it didn't say "no bail" until 7:30 p.m.
[Photo: Chicago Police Department]