How Did Prosecutors Miss Deadline In Murder Case, Allowing Defendant To Walk?

(CBS) — Serious questions for the Cook County State’s Attorney: How did prosecutors miss a deadline to bring a murder defendant to trial?

Charges had to be dropped, and the 23-year-old suspect was released from Cook County Jail — only to be shot to death moments later.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports.

As Kamari Belmont sat in Cook County Jail, charged with murder, the clock started running.

Prosecutors had 120 days to bring Belmont to trial, under the state’s “speedy trial” statute. They didn’t get it done and had to drop the murder charges.

Michael Johnson was Belmont’s attorney.

“In all my years of years, and I’ve handled hundreds of murder cases, this is the first time this has ever happened to me,” he says.

CBS 2’s legal analyst Irv Miller was a supervisor in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

If that had happened during his era with the office, he says, “Whoever didn’t count the days would have been fired.”

State’s Attorney’s Kim Foxx’s spokesperson blamed the administration of her predecessor, Anita Alvarez.

“An error occurred in the handling of this case by the prior administration,” the spokesperson said. “Going forward, we are working to improve training protocols for our prosecutors to prevent such errors.”

Minutes after Belmont posted bond Monday night and left County Jail, someone in an SUV fired shots at him. He didn’t make it to the hospital.

“I was absolutely stunned and felt very bad for his family,” Johnson, the defense attorney, says.

CBS 2 asked the media office for incumbent Foxx, who’s been in office for months now, whether her administration should assume some responsibility for the error.

“We have no further comment,” they said.

Alvarez could not be reached for comment.

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