Murder suspect released from Rikers Island by mistake recaptured

Correction officials and Mayor de Blasio vowed a full investigation into the mix-up


By John Annese
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A man who has been on the lam for more than a month after being mistakenly sprung from Rikers Island after an epic clerical screwup is back behind bars, sources said Friday.

Authorities found Christopher Buggs, 26, in the Bronx, although details of his capture was not immediately released.

Buggs was supposed to be held without bail while he waited for his trial in the 2018 slaying of Ernest Brownlee in Brooklyn.

But his crude sexual insult at a Brooklyn judge last month set into motion an improbable series of mistakes ending with a sentence of 30 days time served for criminal contempt — a sentence that wound up being recorded as the final disposition of his still-pending murder case.

That glitch opened the prison gate at 2 a.m. Tuesday, when Biggs was given cash and a MetroCard and sent on his way — a get-out-of-jail-free card made possible by correction officers and supervisors across a five-step release process who all missed the massive red flag showing that Biggs was charged with murder.

Buggs is awaiting trial for the January 2018 shooting death of Ernest Brownlee, 55, an ex-con who was shot three times in the chest as he waited for an order of pepper steak with rice and beans at a Brooklyn deli.

Correction officials and Mayor de Blasio vowed a full investigation into the mix-up.

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(c)2021 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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