UPDATE: Man who pleaded guilty to kidnapping Birmingham businessman recaptured
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: U.S. Marshals confirm Matthew Burke has been recaptured by Alabaster Police.
WBRC received this statement from Tommy Spina, attorney from Elton Stephens, Jr.
ORIGINAL: Sources say Matthew Burke, who pleaded guilty to kidnapping Elton Stephens, Jr. was accidentally released from jail Friday afternoon and now U.S. Marshals are looking for him. Jefferson Co. Jail records show he was released Friday at 3:23 pm.
The circumstances surrounding the release are currently being investigated.
Burke was transferred to the Jefferson County Jail from a neighboring agency on November 24, 2021, to attend court. According to records, Burke had charges with the state, which were dismissed after a court appearance on Friday. Jefferson County deputies said at the time of the transfer from the neighboring agency, there was no documentation left to notify jail personnel that Burke had been sentenced by another court and was not to be released. It was discovered around 3:30 PM on Monday, December 13, 2021 that Burke should have been held for transfer to prison, where he was to serve an already imposed sentence.
Burke is facing nearly 20 years in prison for the kidnapping.
Matthew Burke and Tabatha Hodges pleaded guilty on federal charges in the abduction of Elton B. Stephens, Jr.
Burke and Hodges admitted to kidnapping Stephens from his home last year in an attempt to get a ransom of $250,000.
Hodges was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
According to court documents, Burke and Hodges abducted Stephens with the intent to hold him for ransom or reward.
According to the indictment, Burke and Hodges traveled to Stephens’ home, abducted him and took him to a home in Remlap in an effort to obtain ransom money in the amount of $250,000. A wire transfer in the amount of $250,000 was sent to a bank account belonging to Hodges. After receiving the ransom money, Burke and Hodges took Stephens back to his home and released him. Burke told him that his family would be killed if he called the police about the kidnapping or the ransom.
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