Authorities accidentally allow Ga. suspect to leave jail


Channel 2 Action News has learned a man wanted in Georgia was allowed to walk out of a jail in New Mexico and that two months passed before local authorities realized it.

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned a man wanted in Georgia was allowed to walk out of a jail in New Mexico and that two months passed before local authorities realized it.

Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh spent the day investigating the mix-up and found fingers being pointed across the country between Georgia and New Mexico.

Robert Craig Sandman, 52, is wanted by Duluth police and the state of Georgia. But New Mexico authorities let him to walk out of Sandoval County Jail two months ago.

Now Katherine Richie, Sandman's ex-girlfriend, believes she could be in danger.

"Nobody wants to do their job," she said. The man she helped prosecutors put away is on the run.

"The abuse started right away. Once he was in, I couldn't figure out how to get out."

Sandman went to jail for aggravated stalking and theft. He was released from a Georgia prison in March.
Two days later, crime scene tape surrounded the home of one of Richie's neighbors on Monteath Pass in Duluth.

Donald Singer, 57, was found dead in his garage. Police said his body was discovered under blankets and a ladder.

His prized Porsche was gone.

Within days, Duluth police named Sandman a person of interest in Singer's death. In early April, New Mexico authorities located him and the stolen Porsche. He went to jail, but the clock was ticking.

"The sheriff's department was never notified that he was ready to be picked up. As the clock was ticking 20 days later, they released him," said Maj. Don Woodruff of Duluth Police Department.

Duluth police said they frequently checked in on Sandman's extradition status. Yet, two months passed before they realized he was out.

Channel 2 Action News obtained the New Mexico judge's order dated May 13.

It says "The state of Georgia was given twenty (20) days to perfects its extradition. As of this date, Georgia has failed to do this. The defendant shall be released immediately."

"I don't know why someone in Sandoval County couldn't pick up the phone and say he's ready to go. If you want him come get him," Woodruff said.

Duluth police said it was New Mexico's responsibility to contact the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department. They said it's possible notification went to a Georgia Probation office. The Department of Corrections denies receiving any notification at their Lawrenceville Probation Office. It's unclear if notification could have been sent to another office.

"Here is running around again and I don't even know where he's at and nobody's even bothering to protect me," Richie said.

Richie said no one bothered to call her either. She found out he was released via the internet.

Kavanaugh spoke to the family of Donald Singer on Monday. Police called them last week. The family said they're are devastated that the little peace of mind they had after the death of the father is now gone.

According to court records, Sandman's criminal history includes nine years for a murder in New Mexico. A Georgia judge sentenced him to 10 years with one to be served for aggravated stalking and theft charges.

Again, he is a person of interest in Donald Singer's death. The medical examiner was not able to determine Singer's cause of death.


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