Fugitive jail inmate facing transfer back to Los Angeles

AP News
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 3:21 PM
Fugitive jail inmate facing transfer back to Los Angeles

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — A murder suspect who was mistakenly released from a California jail told a judge Wednesday he won't fight his transfer in custody from southern Nevada back to Los Angeles for retrial on an overturned murder conviction.

Steven Lawrence Wright, 37, wasn't represented in Henderson Justice Court by a lawyer, and he didn't speak about the charges against him as he waived extradition.

Justice of the Peace Rodney Burr gave authorities two weeks to move Wright to California.

Wright's lawyer in Los Angeles, Stacie Halpern, said by telephone she believes Wright has a good chance of being cleared in a new trial in the 2011 shooting death of a 47-year-old man in Pasadena, California. Police have said Wright and the victim were rival gang members.

She won a retrial after showing that a key witness lied in Wright's trial, Halpern said.

Halpern said she didn't believe her client deserves to face any charges stemming from his release from jail on Jan. 30 because of what jailers said was a paperwork mistake.

"I don't know what they could possibly charge him with," Halpern said. "It wasn't his choice to be released from the county jail. They released him of their own accord."

A Los Angeles sheriff's official, Cmdr. Keith Swensson, has said authorities didn't plan to file additional charges because Wright didn't escape and there was no indication he committed crimes while he was free.

Wright was arrested Monday by a southern Nevada regional fugitive apprehension team in Boulder City, a Nevada town near Hoover Dam about 30 miles east of Las Vegas and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles. He's being held at the city jail in Henderson pending his transfer to Los Angeles.

Swensson didn't say what led detectives to the hotel where Wright was found, though he did say a $20,000 reward offered by Los Angeles County generated a lot of tips from the public.

A man and a woman who police said were with Wright were arrested on charges of aiding a felony offender.

Bruce Oliver and Lavera Wilson, both 39, were later freed on bond pending court appearances.