Share this article

print logo

Another parolee released by mistake Suspect surrenders peacefully to police

Sheriff's detectives Friday captured a violent parolee mistakenly released on bail from the Erie County Holding Center a week ago.

Dion T. Roberts, 29, was the subject of a manhunt that also involved parole officers and Buffalo police.

It began Thursday, when parole officers found that Roberts had been bailed out days earlier.

He should have remained in the Holding Center on a parole warrant.

"Our review shows that somebody made some mistakes," admitted Undersheriff Richard Donovan, the top deputy to Sheriff Timothy B. Howard.

"We have already started a professional standards investigation into this case. We discipline people for doing things wrong," Donovan said. "In this one, there was a lot of factors that came into it. I expect there will be some level of discipline."

Roberts, who once stole a car at gunpoint and has served two state prison sentences, was arrested Sept. 10 after he smashed his way into a residence on Niagara Street, Buffalo police said in a report.

Police said Roberts carried a loaded handgun and intended to steal a pit bull, but the victim called 911 when he arrived home to find an intruder. Roberts faces six charges, including resisting arrest for spitting on an officer, according to reports.

He was arrested as Deyon T. Roberts, but a routine check of fingerprints at the Holding Center showed he was a parolee, and the
state Division of Parole was automatically notified.

The next day, Sept. 11, the Parole Division sent a warrant to the Holding Center telling its personnel to keep Roberts in custody.

"That means he should be in jail," parole spokeswoman Heather R. Groll told The Buffalo News on Friday, hours before Roberts' capture.

But the parole document had used the name Dion Roberts, and despite numbers on the document indicating Dion and Deyon were the same person, the warrant was never linked to the inmate, Donovan said.

City Judge James A. W. McLeod set bond at $15,000. Then through a bondsman, Roberts was freed from the Holding Center last Saturday.

Roberts' aunt, Lisa Richmond of New York City, said relatives who posted the bond for Roberts knew he was on parole and asked Holding Center personnel whether parole officers had filed a document to continue detaining him.

They were told there was no detainer, Richmond said.

But she said Roberts still appeared in City Court two days later for another hearing in his case. The event was postponed.

Thursday, when parole officers followed up on the warrant, the Holding Center reported that Roberts was no longer in custody. That's when parole officers fanned out, arriving unannounced at the homes of his relatives and associates.

Roberts' aunt said parole officers with guns drawn searched a home on Winslow Avenue for Roberts. She said that all the while, Roberts wanted to surrender but feared retaliation from authorities.

Donovan said Roberts surrendered peacefully when authorities returned to the Winslow Avenue home Friday.

His mistaken release bears some similarities to the February release of Rasheed I. Milton from the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden.

Milton was freed after completing a sentence even though U.S. marshals delivered a detainer days earlier telling the Sheriff's Office to continue holding him because he had pleaded guilty to federal drug charges.

While free, Milton was accused in the knifepoint rape of an 18-year-old woman.

The sheriff soon after said he was "extremely disappointed" and expressed concern for the victim.

He explained that a clerk failed to input information from the detainer into Milton's computerized records and instead placed the detainer in his paper folder. The clerk was suspended for three days without pay.

e-mail: mspina@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment