Suspected killer set free from LA jail by mistake

May 4, 2013 at 4:25 PM

LOS ANGELES, May 4 (UPI) -- Police in Los Angeles say they did not disclose a murder suspect was mistakenly set free because they didn't want to tip him off they were looking for him.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Capt. Chuck Antuna said a "clerical error" led to the release of suspected killer Johnny Mata April 4.

Mata was being held at the Sheriff's Department Inmate Reception Center in downtown Los Angeles where a "hold" message was never entered into the computer system.

Mata is wanted for the 2010 Christmas Eve killing of David DeAnda. Police said Mata walked up to a trio of men standing in a driveway and opened fire, striking and killing DeAnda.

A sheriff's department spokesman said the department didn't go public with the news Mata was on the lam because they had leads suggesting he could be apprehended. Those leads now exhausted, the department is seeking the public's help in locating Mata.

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