ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A suspected car thief’s near-death experience may not have been enough to keep him from breaking the law.
Albuquerque Police said only about a month after the man was shot and almost killed, they caught him trying to steal again.
However, he was not behind bars on Monday. Police have it on video as the man allegedly steals a bait car, but a judge dismissed his charges and he was free to go.
Now, there is a debate over who is to blame.
Last year, a stolen truck chase ended with a crash, sending Majestic Howard to the hospital and then off to jail.
This year, it was the same: Howard made headlines and a hospital visit, nearly dying when a man who claimed he caught Howard trying to steal his car was accused of shooting him in the head.
Police arrived to find Howard breathing and conscious but in a lot of pain.
The shooter faced charges while Howard did not.
However, his brush with death didn’t deter him from popping up on APD’s radar again. Video shows Howard, screwdriver in hand, getting into a bait car on Friday at about 1 a.m.
Police tracked it to the area of Lomas and Broadway where they tried to pull Howard over. Instead, Howard sped up in an attempt to get away until police disabled the car.
The video then shows Howard tossing a gun aside before trying to run with no luck. No luck, that is, until he got to court over the weekend.
“You’re being released today simply because the officer forgot or failed to sign the complaint. So, this is your lucky day, Mr. Howard,” Judge Chris Schultz said during Howard’s arraignment.
Judge Schultz dismissed the charges on a technicality.
“The criminal complaint has to be signed by the affiant. There’s simply a typed name in there,” Judge Schultz said.
APD said that the detective signed the criminal complaint electronically, like he has been doing without any issues for the last four years.
On Monday, APD issued a warrant for Howard’s arrest to put him behind bars again for the crime caught on camera. The warrant includes a copy of the complaint that was physically signed by the detective instead of typed up this time.
The complaint states that in a search of the bait car, police found the gun that Howard ditched before his attempted escape and a baggy of heroin.