He should have never been freed; now Walter McDaniel is back in police custody after allegedly taking the life of an innocent man.
The victim is 55-year-old Earnest Grant. He was killed in a car accident at the suspect was apparently trying to get away from police. It happened Wednesday night at the intersection of Marks and North. McDaniel was wanted on warrants out of Fresno and Madera counties. He was a free man for 11 days before police caught up with him.
A pile of debris and flattened vegetation are all that's left of an accident at North and Marks on Thursday morning. The night before, McDaniel was trying to lose the police helicopter when he reportedly hit Grant's car, causing fatal injuries.
CBS47 knocked on the door of McDaniel's mother, who got the news from us.
She says her son has mental problems and she wasn't surprised the accident happened.
McDaniel has a history of criminal behavior, including a prior strike. There are two pending cases against him in Fresno and Madera counties. He was arrested in June after he was found with a 10-year-old boy who was missing.
When charges weren't filed against him, he was supposed to be picked up by the Madera County Jail. Messages sent from one jail to the other were sent on a system used by all law enforcement.
The Madera County Undersheriff confirms the messages went through, but can't speak for the jail's failure to respond. The Madera County jail is an independent operation that has declined our interview requests.
"I know that message got to our switch, that message was transmitted from our switch to the jail. What happened after it got to the jail, I can't speculate," said Undersheriff Michael Salvador.
Even though it appears McDaniel fell through the cracks in the system, legal analyst Carl Faller says it would be difficult to prove that those cracks caused Grant's death.
"There's certainly enough blame to go around. Now whether there's going to be legal responsibility attached to the various players in this debacle is going to be difficult to determine," said Carl Faller, a defense attorney.
McDaniel is still in the hospital being treated for injuries. He was in the car with a woman and a 13-year-old. Police say his passengers are also expected to be ok. The victim's family was too distraught to speak to media.