LA County Sheriff's Department Accidentally Releases Inmate Charged in Gang Murder

A jail inmate accused of a gang murder was let go due to a clerical error, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.

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    Johnny Mata, 32, was mistakenly released from jail in April by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department due to a clerical error, the department says. Authorities asked for the public's help finding him on Friday, May 3, 2013.

    A clerical error caused Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies to release a jail inmate charged with gang-related murder last month, and authorities on Friday asked the public to help them find him to put him back behind bars.

    Johnny Mata, 32, was released in downtown Los Angeles on April 4 after he was charged with a 2010 gang murder in Baldwin Heights, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department statement.

    "Mata’s release should not have occurred because a murder charge had been filed by the District Attorney and a processing clerk had not yet entered it as a 'hold' on inmate Mata," the statement said.

    Mata was arrested May 25, 2012 by the El Monte Police Department. His last court date was listed as April 3 -- the day before his accidental release.

    Mata was described as a Latino man, 6 feet, 1 inch tall, 197 pounds.

    Anyone with information about Mata's whereabouts can call sheriff’s homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous tipsters call LA Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or going to

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