Fugitive released by mistake from county detention center

July 20, 1992|By Alan J. Craver and Edward L. Heard Jr. | Alan J. Craver and Edward L. Heard Jr.,Staff Writers

A Pennsylvania man was mistakenly released last week from the Baltimore County Detention Center after employees overlooked more than 20 out-of-state fugitive warrants that had been filed against him.

The man, Gerald Farnan, 34, of York, Pa., was released Thursday after a trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court, where he was sentenced to the time he had already served since his arrest on three counts ofwriting bad checks.

But while preparing Farnan for release, detention center employees overlooked the fugitive warrants, said Deputy Michael Papesh of the Baltimore County Sheriff's Department, which supervises the detention center.

"They missed it," Deputy Papesh said. "Shortly after that, the mistake was realized."

Despite being released, Farnan will be charged with escaping because he was aware that he still faced similar charges out of state, including some 20 warrants from Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Farnan had been arrested on July 6 by Baltimore County police afterpassing bad checks at a clothing store.

After his release, sheriff's deputies searched for him along Interstate 83 and York Road, Deputy Papesh said. Authorities said they believed Farnan may have been walking or hitchhiking because he had no money.

Meanwhile, the internal affairs unit of the sheriff's department has initiated an investigation of the incident to determine who was responsible for releasing Farnan and to attempt to make sure that a similar mistake does not occur, Deputy Papesh said.

The defendant appeared in Baltimore County District Court on Thursday, where he requested a jury trial, Deputy Papesh said. He was taken to Circuit Court where he appeared before Judge John Grason Turnbull II, who found him guilty of three counts of passing bad checks, based on a statement of facts submitted by prosecutors.

Farnan's last known address was in the 3300 block of Paunta Drive, York, Pa. At the time of his arrest, he was working as a lumberyard salesman in Maryland.

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