Mistakenly released inmate is found

Jacob Colman was accidentally released two days before he was to be hospitalized for mental evaluations

by:  - Jacob Colman

News Editor
   April 30, 2003 — Last Wednesday, Jefferson County Jail staff mistakenly released a suicidal inmate who was scheduled to be transported to a state hospital for psychiatric evaluations, but his freedom was short-lived.
   The inmate, Jacob Allen Colman, 24, was wanted on contempt of court charges and was reported to be unstable.
   Tuesday morning, deputies received information that Colman was staying at a trailer in the High Chaparral RV Park in the Culver area.
   Sheriff Jack Jones said Colman surrendered willingly. "We drove up to the place and he walked out and surrendered without incident," he said.
   Colman was inadvertently released April 23 on what corrections personnel believed was the end of a 25-day jail sentence related to harassment charges. But two days earlier, a judge ordered the jail to continue holding Colman pending hospitalization.
   Lt. Tony Lewis, the jail manager, said a paperwork mixup, among other circumstances, led to Colman's accidental release.
   "It's something that happens very rarely and not on a regular basis," Lewis said. "It slipped through the cracks and unfortunately it is a very high-priority type of person."
   Colman has a notorious, highly publicized criminal past. He was convicted in 1993 of murdering his foster parents, Pete and Janet Read, with a shotgun in their Culver home. He was 12 years old at the time of the murders, and Colman was held in juvenile custody until his 21st birthday.
   Lewis said jail staff never received a formal order from Jefferson County Circuit Court to continue detaining Colman. He said the only indication was a written note scribbled at the bottom of a court document.
   Regardless, Lewis said releasing him was an "unfortunate mistake."
   "If our court officer had been evaluating the paperwork at the time of release, he would have known," Lewis said. "But the person doing it that morning was not as well-versed with how court orders worked."
   The oversight was spotted a day later, and a warrant for Colman's arrest was issued on April 24.
   Since completing his original sentence, Colman has continued to have comparatively minor run-ins with the law. He's been arrested several times for violating restraining orders against an ex-girlfriend. Those have led to misdemeanor convictions on contempt of court and harassment charges.
   At the time of his inadvertent release, Colman was awaiting trial on two additional contempt of court charges.
   His court-appointed attorney, Jennifer Kimble, filed a motion April 14 seeking an evaluation of her client's mental health to determine whether he was fit to proceed. According to that document, Kimble said Colman "seems to have an altered sense of reality" and "indicates to me he is hearing a number of different voices in his head."
   In recent weeks, Colman had attempted suicide by slicing his wrists with a razor, had drawn by blood banging his head against a wall and had indicated he believed corrections staff were poisoning his food, Kimble's motion said. The attorney's request for an evaluation was granted on April 21.
   Because of Colman's past history, Lewis said the sheriff's department made finding him a high priority.