This case involves an individual who was killed during a bounty hunt in Alaska. Prior to the date of the incident in question, a close friend of the decedent had been released on bail. After being released, the parolee violated the terms of her release, and the judge revoked her bond. The defendant bounty hunter was sent to reclaim the individual, who was staying at the decedent’s home at the time of the incident. When the bounty hunters arrived, there was a verbal altercation between the bounty hunters and the residents of the home. At some point, the decedent grabbed an unloaded gun. It was made known to the bounty hunters that the gun was unloaded, however at that point the decedent was pepper sprayed by one of the bounty hunters, and shortly after th bounty hunter shot fatally shot her. It was alleged that the bounty hunters failed to follow the proper procedures for executing a re-arrest.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience in bond reversal and/or bounty hunting.
- 2. What could have been done differently to prevent this from happening?
Expert Witness Response E-084408
I have 7 years experience as a bail bond agent and over 10 years experience in the police force. I have extensive experience performing and supervising fugitive recoveries in my home state. I frequently assist in instruction classes involving concealed carry and gun use protocol for new agents. My initial questions are whether or not the address they went to was the one listed for the fugitive and how they made the entry. This will be able to put me in a better spot to give a more educated opinion. Generally speaking, a bail bond agent can make entry into the residence regardless of whether or not that individual is actually there. This is different from typical police protocol which only lets you enter the house if you have verbal and/or visual confirmation the fugitive is there. Additionally, it is likely the 2nd agent instinctively pulled the trigger.
Expert Witness Response E-084421
How did the bounty hunters know that the decedent’s gun was not loaded? Unless they inspected the gun and determined that it was not loaded, it should be considered to be a loaded firearm. What type of “pepper spray” was used, and in what manner? If the pepper spray was ineffective and the decedent was still holding the firearm, especially if they were refusing to put down the weapon, or point it towards bounty hunters, then it would be reasonable for the armed bounty hunter to stop the threat by shooting that person. Also, if the decedent was refusing to be disarmed, or pointing the firearm at bounty hunters, the use of pepper spray is moot. If this was a deadly force confrontation the proper response would be the use of a firearm.