CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Kanawha County officials disagree over who is responsible for mistakenly ordering the release of a man charged with trying to steal a baby.
Jeremy Carter was arrested Monday evening after a search that lasted nearly four days.
South Charleston Sgt. P.C. Rader said officers arrested Carter just after 6:30 p.m. at a home on Riverside Drive. They received information that Carter was in the home and found him inside sleeping on a couch.
Rader said Carter didn't resist but claimed ignorance.
"He played the 'dumb card,' and claimed he didn't know anything about it," Rader said. "It's kind of hard to believe because it was all over the news -- on the TV and in the papers -- that he shouldn't have been out of jail."
Rader said there were others in the home at the time of the arrest and that they could be facing charges as well. Officers will work with the county prosecutor's office to determine what, if any, charges would be filed against Carter and those in the home.
Prosecutors will present Carter's case to a grand jury this month in hopes of having him indicted on a charge of kidnapping.
Circuit Judge Carrie Webster signed a Feb. 28 order that apparently was interpreted to mean the case against Carter had been dismissed.
She said that's not what she intended.
Carter walked free despite a $150,000 full surety bond that had been set for him but not posted.
After learning of his release, Webster at first took full responsibility.
However, on Sunday she released a three-page statement to the media that placed the blame on the staff member in the Kanawha Circuit Clerk's Office who processed the documents.
The statement reads, in part, "Upon further review and consideration of this matter, the Court concludes that Mr. Carter's release resulted from a mistake made on the Jail Release Form, which incorrectly stated that Case Number 12-F-2685 (the attempted kidnapping charge) was dismissed.
"It is the Jail Release form and NOT the Court's dismissal Order, that triggered the mistaken release of Mr. Carter. The Jail Release Form authorizing Mr. Carter's release was prepared and signed by the Circuit Clerk's office."
Prosecutor Mark Plants said he didn't believe that was true.
"The clerk was just doing what the judge said," Plants said. "Typically, when there's a request for a case to be dismissed, there's a hearing with both parties present."
In trying to clear her docket of what she thought were inactive cases, Webster also mistakenly dismissed charges against Gary Wayne Mullens, who was convicted last year by a jury of kidnapping a senior citizen and taking money from him. He is serving a 25-year sentence in that case.
Mullens, however, was not released and remains in jail.
Carter, 33, was set free last week. Plants said as soon as the release of Carter was realized, a capias order for his arrest was issued. There had been reports that Carter turned himself in, but that was not true, Plants said.