For 69 days before he failed to return to a D.C. halfway house, accused hit-and-run driver Shane S. DeLeon passed daily Breathalyzer tests and talked at least four times a day with the officer assigned to monitor him.
On Sunday, however, he was not home for a curfew check.
On Monday, authorities ordered him into a halfway house.
On Tuesday, he left for work and never came back.
DeLeon, 45, accused of running down the rollerblading American University student Matthew O'Dell on Jan. 28 while driving when he was drunk, is now a fugitive. D.C. Superior Court Judge Patricia A. Wynn issued an arrest warrant yesterday and ordered him held without bond if captured.
"One way or the other, we're going to find him," said Robert Murphy, spokesman for the D.C. Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.
Murphy said DeLeon, charged with second-degree murder in O'Dell's death, had "cooperated fully" with authorities. When DeLeon failed to return to the District-run Community Correctional Center, he said, "We were surprised."
At a June 3 hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Corcoran asked Wynn to order DeLeon to jail for twice violating his home curfew. He said DeLeon was a twice-convicted drunk driver who "again and again and again . . . goes out and drinks and drives. And ultimately kills somebody."
Defense attorney Renee Raymond agreed that nighttime curfew telephone calls to DeLeon had twice gone unanswered, on May 12 and May 21. The problem, she said, was that DeLeon had not heard the telephone because the MacArthur Boulevard NW house where he was staying was so large.
Wynn declined to lock him up. She called DeLeon's compliance "incredible." She explained, "There are more check-ins here than I've ever seen."
The so-called High Intensity Program, which currently has a roster of 77 men and women awaiting trial, sets out a series of required contacts and tests, followed by mandatory sanctions for violators. It begins with three weeks in a halfway house.
DeLeon's two curfew violations led to an additional two-week halfway house stay, which began May 21. DeLeon successfully completed his stay and was released. When he did not answer the telephone Sunday, he was ordered back into the halfway house.
Halfway house staff members did not realize DeLeon had failed to return until 2 1/2 hours after his 11 p.m. curfew, according to a copy of the arrest warrant. "We followed procedures," said Corrections Director Odie Washington said.
Authorities continued to search for DeLeon yesterday. At the MacArthur Boulevard home that DeLeon shares with a friend, Tracy Power, a day-old newspaper rested on the front step and mail filled the mailbox. No one answered the door.
D.C. Council member Harold Brazil (D-At Large) said he doesn't understand why Wynn ordered DeLeon to a halfway house.
"I'm not sure that he was such a good candidate for anything that deals with trust," said Brazil, chairman of the council's Judiciary Committee. "If they catch him, he definitely won't be going back there."