One of three men charged with the shooting and robbery of Lady Gaga’s dog walker was released from jail in what several law enforcement sources told NBCLA was an administrative mistake.
James Howard Jackson, 18, who was accused in court papers of firing the shots during the theft of Gaga’s dogs in February 2021, was freed Wednesday after a court appearance, and booking records showed it was because the charges against him were dismissed.
It was not clear why the cases were to be exchanged.
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The LA County District Attorney’s Office said late Thursday the dismissed charges were to have been replaced by a superseding grand jury indictment unsealed during the hearing Wednesday.
Several sources familiar with the court proceedings said it appeared the superseding case was not entered against Jackson.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department released a photo of Jackson with a statement saying he was released due to a clerical error.
"The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) is investigating the inadvertent release from custody of Defendant James Howard Jackson,: the department said. "Mr. Jackson was in custody for attempted murder in connection with the shooting of Lady Gaga’s dog walker and the theft of two of the singer’s French Bulldogs which occurred on February 25, 2021. Defendant Jackson attended court proceedings at the Clara Shortridge Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday, April 5, 2022, and was released from custody on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, due to a clerical error. The investigation is continuing and the LASD Major Crimes Bureau is actively working to get Mr. Jackson back in custody.
Jackson, along with Jaylin Keyshawn White, 19, and Lafayette Shon Whaley, 27, were charged last year with one count each of attempted murder, second-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with the shooting of Ryan Fischer.
Jackson — the alleged gunman — is also charged with one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle, while White is also facing one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
Jackson's release happened after five people were initially arrested in the case, and authorities said four of them were gang members.
Two of the pop star's French bulldogs were snatched during the stickup and shooting, and Fischer suffered serious injuries in the attack.
Gaga offered a half-million-dollar reward for the dogs' return and eventually a woman showed up at an LAPD station with the dogs and tried to claim the reward.
The dogs and Gaga were reunited while police continued to investigate, and eventually detectives said they were able to link the woman who claimed the reward with the others.
At the time of the arrests LAPD officials said they did not believe the suspects were targeting the victim because of the dogs' owner.
"Evidence suggests the suspects knew the great value of the breed of dogs" and that "was the motivation for the robbery," police said.
Anyone with information on Jackson's whereabouts is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 213-229-1850 or by calling "Crime Stoppers" at 800-222-8477, use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website.