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San Mateo County Judge Orders Murder Suspect’s Release

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Hillsdale Mall shooting, David Lewis

Police on the scene of the June 9, 2010 shooting at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo. (CBS)

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SAN MATEO (KCBS)— The suspect in the murder of an East Palo Alto community leader was released from custody this week, over the objections of prosecutors who say he confessed to the crime.

60-year-old Gregory Elarms was arrested for the 2010 murder of David Lewis in the Hillsdale Shopping Center. The case stumped police for six months until Elarms contacted police and implicated himself.

Last fall, a judge dismissed the charges saying the suspect hadn’t had his rights properly read to him before he confessed. Meanwhile, he remained in custody for allegedly possessing shanks in jail.

Elarms pleaded no contest, but on Tuesday a judge ordered him released saying he was not dangerous.

San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said he thinks this is an unusual move.

“The prosecutor came up to me and told me what had occurred. I had to do a double check to say, ‘really?’ This is extremely unusual. I mean here we’ve had another judge dismiss the murder case. That in itself is a very unusual step. We’re trying to remedy that one by going to the court of appeal,” he said.

The state attorney general is working that appeal, meanwhile Wagstaffe said the victim’s family is upset by Elarms’ release, fearing a murder suspect is now out in public.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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