Minneapolis murder suspect mistakenly released from jail in Indiana

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 1:57 PM CDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (WRTV) – A man accused of murder in Minnesota is back on the run.

Kevin Mason was mistakenly released from jail in Indiana one week ago. Now, a woman accused of helping him stay hidden has been arrested.

Meanwhile, the victim’s family said this feels like a nightmare all over again.

Sharita Catchings said the release of the man accused of murdering her son, Dontevious Catchings, isn’t just a mistake by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office – it’s life-changing for her family.

“I shouldn’t have to go through this twice,” Sharita Catchings said. “It’s just like it’s hit me double time.”

Dontevious Catchings, a 29-year-old father of two, was fatally shot outside a Minneapolis church during a funeral in 2021.

“To find out that they have finally caught this man that we’d been waiting on to get caught for all these years, two years, and for him to freely walk up out of there and have a freedom of joyness, just like, ‘I escaped my punishment.’ You know, it’s like a slap in our face all over again,” Sharita Catchings said.

Mason was arrested in Indianapolis on Sept. 11. Less than 48 hours later, he was released on a clerical error.

Two Marion County civilian clerks were fired.

“We have four layers that they go through that should not have had happened. Two of these people blatantly had this occur,” said Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal. “They’re paid less than $20 an hour to do work and evaluate documents that are originally put together by lawyers and judges in court. So, it’s a difficult job. Technically, I couldn’t afford to fire the two people I did because we don’t have another replacement. But I also could not afford to have people who would release somebody on a murder charge to the street.”

Forestal said he believes Mason is still in the Indianapolis area.

He said officers from surrounding agencies had been following Mason’s girlfriend, who picked him up from the jail a week ago.

She was arrested Wednesday and charged with assisting a criminal.

“Last night she traveled outside of her regular area, which was Southport and Emerson Avenue,” Forestal said Wednesday. “There’s a lot of hotels down there. She might be hiding Kevin Mason down there. She has not cooperated, but our plan is to look throughout the city with this uniform presence and make it uncomfortable for anybody who might be keeping him.”

When asked what he would say to the Catchings family, Forestal responded: “It’s very unfortunate, and we prefer that it would not have happened.”

The family also questioned why the public wasn’t notified sooner.

The sheriff’s office said they thought it was to their advantage to keep quiet because they were tracking Mason’s girlfriend’s car.

The plan was to follow her until they had Mason back in custody.