Murder suspect pleads not guilty after being mistakenly released from jail

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A murder suspect who was mistakenly released from jail and then captured 20 days later in Orange County pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, March 30 in connection with a Long Beach killing.

Steven Manzo of Hawaiian Gardens, 24, appeared in a Long Beach courtroom one day after being re-arrested during a traffic stop in Cypress.

Investigators observed Manzo entering a grey Nissan Sentra in Buena Park and followed the car to Cypress, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The investigators contacted the Cypress Police Department, which aided in stopping the vehicle.

Manzo is charged with one felony count each of murder, attempted murder, shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, possession for sale of methamphetamine and sale or transportation of methamphetamine, along with a newly filed misdemeanor count of resisting, delaying or obstructing a public officer, peace officer or emergency medical technician.

Manzo was released from jail March 9, with a Long Beach police spokeswoman subsequently saying it was determined that he “should not have been released.”

Steven Manzo Courtesy of LBPD)

In a statement released the day after Manzo was released, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said it “did NOT erroneously release a murder suspect yesterday from our custody.

“LASD received an ‘Order For Release’ from the court, indicating the case was dismissed. As such, the department complied with the court order and processed the individual for release,” according to the statement.

The case against Manzo was dismissed March 8 and the same five charges were immediately re-filed under a different case number after Manzo was not taken from jail to court, where a hearing had been set to determine whether there was enough evidence to allow the case against him to proceed to trial, according to Ricardo Santiago of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Manzo was ordered remanded pending arraignment on the new case March 23, and the prosecutor handling the case alerted law enforcement March 9 after becoming aware that the defendant had been released from custody, according to Santiago.

Long Beach police spokeswoman Arantxa Chavarria said her department “contacted LASD to assist with his apprehension. LASD set up a containment perimeter, but they were not able to take him into custody.”

Manzo was arrested and charged a year ago with the July 26, 2018, killing of Salvador Corrales, 24, according to Long Beach police.

Officers found evidence of a shooting but no victim at 9:05 p.m. that night when they were dispatched to a call of shots fired in the 6700 block of Cherry Avenue.

Corrales’ body was later found inside a vehicle in the 5800 block of Florence Avenue in Bell Gardens, and evidence linked the shots fired in Long Beach with his death, police said.

Manzo — who remains jailed in lieu of $4.09 million bail — is due back in court April 20.

Two co-defendants, Gabriel Ivan Martinez, 24, and Daniel Alberto Cardona, 22, are charged with robbery and drug counts.

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