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DC teen charged with murder caught days after mistaken release

WASHINGTON — A D.C. teenager facing felony murder charges in the killing of his girlfriend is back in custody Monday afternoon after he was mistakenly released last Thursday from police custody.

Dekale Bowman, 18, was arrested on Gallaudet Street, in Northeast, by the Capital Area Regional Task Force Monday afternoon — around the corner from his apartment where he allegedly shot and killed Taiyania Thompson in January.

Since then, D.C. courts held Bowman without bond in the custody of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services. Yet, a series of errors still unaccounted for led to Bowman’s release from a Prince George’s County jail.

The unraveling began the day after a warrant hearing May 1, when a D.C. Superior Court judge acknowledged Bowman had an outstanding warrant for stealing a car in Prince George’s County. Because of his no bond status and the severity of his charges, D.C. Superior Court spokeswoman Leah Gurowitz said Bowman’s transfer to Maryland on lesser charges would have to wait until the conclusion of his murder trial. Yet, somehow the following day the D.C. jail released Bowman to Prince George’s County Sheriff’s deputies.

Police are looking for Dekale Bowman, 18, in connection to the January homicide of a 16-year-old in Northeast D.C. (Courtesy D.C. police)

Deputies took Bowman to Upper Marlboro, Maryland, confirms Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Sharon Taylor. Why Bowman’s no-bond status wasn’t checked when he changed custody is unknown.

“He shouldn’t have been released in the first place,” said a source at D.C. Superior Court who believes jailers did not check Bowman’s bond status before handing him over.

“There was a fluke in the system somewhere,” said Yolonda Smedley, with the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections.

Bowman went before a Prince George’s County judge Wednesday, May 2 on motor vehicle theft and related charges. A judge ordered a $2,600 bond, which Smedley says was posted later that night.

Before he was released at 2:56 a.m May 3, jailers checked the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database which showed no active warrant for Bowman’s arrest, Smedley said.

“Before he can walk out the door, we’ve got to pull the criminal history again and make sure nothing has changed,” Smedley said. Then a commissioner independently checks every inmate’s criminal history before a jailer releases him or her, she said. Seeing no legal reason to hold him, Smedley said jailers released Bowman.

There was no warrant for Bowman because, as far as D.C. courts are concerned, Bowman was already in custody, said Gurowitz with D.C. Superior Court.

“He wasn’t wanted, but his charges and bond status [were] in our database,” she said.


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