Murder suspect mistakenly released from downtown Los Angeles jail by LASD

Leo Stallworth Image
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Murder suspect mistakenly released from jail by LASD
Sheriff's deputies are searching for a murder suspect who they mistakenly released from the Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles Saturday while he awaited trial.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Sheriff's deputies are searching for a murder suspect who they mistakenly released Saturday while he awaited trial for a gang-related murder in Pasadena.

Steven Lawrence Wright, 32, of Altadena was released from the Inmate Reception Center in the 400 block of Bauchet Street in the Chinatown neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles around 12:55 p.m.

"This is the first violent offender that slipped," Cmdr. Keith Swenson of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department said.

His release went unnoticed for over 24 hours, with sheriff's deputies detecting the error around 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

"Basically what happened was the court clerk transposed the information from a release having to do with a contempt of court case with the murder charge. The numbers were transposed on the release paperwork. When it came over to the sheriff's department, we looked at that, we processed it, we missed the mistake ourselves," Swenson said.

The L.A. County Sheriff's Department said they have formed a task force dedicated to tracking Wright down and are "aggressively pursuing a number of leads as to his whereabouts." The department says it also will conduct a review to prevent future accidental inmate releases.

The suspect was arrested on April 7, 2011 as part of a gang sweep by Pasadena police. He is still awaiting trial for the gang-related murder of 47-year-old Donnell Taylor. At the time police said Wright belonged to the Altadena Block Crips.

Sheriff's deputies said they are coordinating with Pasadena police in their search for Wright. He's 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on Wright's whereabouts was asked to contact the sheriff's department's Major Crimes Bureau at (562) 946-7231 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and or conviction of Wright.

City News Service contributed to this report