Officials in Indiana said Friday that the Minneapolis murder defendant who was mistakenly released from a county jail in Indianapolis last week left the city that same day.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday that a staff member at the local detention center erroneously released 28-year-old Kevin L. Mason, of St. Paul, on Sept. 13.
Mason had three active warrants for his arrest in Minnesota, including one related to a June 11, 2021, murder outside a prominent North Side church. He was charged via warrant that summer with second-degree intentional murder and illegal weapons possession in the slaying of 29-year-old Dontevius A. Catchings, of Minneapolis.
"From our investigation, it was determined that Mason left the city of Indianapolis on the evening of Sept. 13," Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Allison Marshall said in a statement.
Marshall added that the effort to capture Mason is now being headed by the U.S. Marshals Service.
"As a former U.S. marshal, I have a personal understanding of the far-reaching tools our federal partners have," read a statement from Sheriff Kerry J. Forestal. "With 56 regional task forces and their capture of nearly 76,000 fugitives in 2022, I am fully confident they will locate Kevin Mason and bring him into custody."
Mason has ties to the Indianapolis region and investigators believe he fled there shortly after the murder. He was arrested on Sept. 11 — and set free two days later, an action that led to the firing of two county employees.
"This should not have happened," Sheriff's Col. James Martin said during a Tuesday news conference.
When asked why his office waited six days to alert the public, Martin said the hope was to maintain a "tactical advantage" so law enforcement could catch Mason before driving him into hiding.
Mason is described as Black, 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 205 pounds. He has a cross tattoo under his right eye and "SUB" tattooed on his chest. He also has a neck tattoo.
Mason is charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Catchings outside Shiloh Temple on West Broadway during funeral services for 24-year-old Christopher Jones Jr., one of two men killed outside a nightclub in downtown Minneapolis on May 22, 2021.
One mourner told police that Mason and Catchings were longtime friends, but that they got into a fistfight over Mason refusing to return a gun to Catchings, charges say. All three men were thought to be part of the same street gang.
At the time of the shooting, Mason had a felony fleeing police charge pending in Hennepin County. He had been charged and convicted of armed robbery three times in the county in 2013. Investigators were unable to locate Mason after he "deleted his Facebook page and left the state."
Star Tribune staff writer Liz Sawyer contributed to this story.