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Man accused of shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker released from jail by mistake, sources say


LOS ANGELES — A man accused of shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker in a robbery last year was mistakenly released from a Los Angeles jail Wednesday, according to multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the matter.

James Howard Jackson, 19, remained free Thursday evening, officials said.

Jackson, one of three people charged in the robbery and shooting of the musician’s dog walker in February 2021, was freed by mistake after a court appearance Wednesday, sources told NBC News and NBC Los Angeles.

The charges were dismissed, and they were to be replaced by a superseding grand jury indictment unsealed at the hearing Wednesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said late Thursday.

Several sources familiar with the court proceedings said it appeared records were not updated about the superseding case.

Online jail records for Jackson show he was released and that the reason is listed as “dismissed.” The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the county’s jail system, did not immediately comment Thursday.

Jackson was one of three people charged last year with attempted murder, second-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery in connection with the shooting of the dog walker, Ryan Fischer.

Jackson — who is alleged to be the gunman — is also charged with one count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and of being a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle.

Fischer was shot and wounded after he was robbed while he was walking Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs in Hollywood around 9:40 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2021.

The thieves stole two of the three dogs, and Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 reward for the return of the animals, named Koji and Gustav. The dogs were later returned.

Los Angeles police have said the robbery did not target the dogs because the robbers knew they were Gaga’s, but rather because French bulldogs are a popular breed that command high prices.

The DA’s office has said Jackson shot Fischer after a struggle during the robbery. Two other people were charged with being accessories.

Last year, another man who was released by mistake from a Los Angeles jail was free for around three weeks before he was recaptured.

Steven Manzo, accused of killing a man in Long Beach in 2018, was released from jail after the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said a case had been dismissed for a technical reason and then immediately refiled.

The sheriff’s department said that Manzo’s release was not its mistake and that it was following a court order for his release.

Manzo was recaptured in neighboring Orange County.

Phil Helsel contributed.



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