Bounty hunters target wrong house in middle of night - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Bounty hunters target wrong house in middle of night

By CJ Cassidy - bio | email

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - How would you feel if someone showed up at your house in the middle of the night demanding to come inside?

A Sikeston couple says they were not about to take a chance and open the door especially when the strangers would not identify themselves.

Now that couple wants their story heard that the people at the their door turned out to be bounty hunters from Mississippi.

The couple ended up being the wrong targets.  Now those bounty hunters face charges themselves.

Jeremy McNeill was taken into custody in Arkansas.  Tim Fugate was arrested in Scott County.  The pleaded not guilty to acting without a license in court Wednesday.

"We hear this bam, bam, bam at our back door!" said David Carnell. 

That's how he says the most terrifying night of his life began, with a stranger banging at his door.

"I said who is it? He says I'm here for Lawrence Carnell. I say there's no Lawrence Carnell, I'm David Carnell, you've got the wrong house! What are you doing at my back door? He says open the door or I'm gonna kick it in!"

Carnell says he grabbed his gun and aimed it through the glass doors at the man outside.

"I saw my laser shine through, and all of a sudden I looked down and he's shining his laser back at me, at my chest.  I jumped back, and then Jenny comes running down the hall."

"I come around the corner and the light shined on my chest," Jenny Carnell, Danny's wife said. "I was freaking out and jumped back."

The couple says thankfully no one opened fire.  Instead, Jenny Carnell called 911.

"I felt like I was in a bad dream, it's not real," she said.

The couple eventually spotted a police car outside and opened the door.

"All of a sudden, a guy comes running up to me and says "Are you Lawrence Carnell?" I said I'm David Carnell, I told you who I was. Why are you at my back door at three in the morning? He says "We are bounty hunters, we have the right to believe you are harboring a fugitive.""

And here's the kicker: Carnell says the two men with the Tri-State Fugitive Apprehension Team even got the name of the fugitive wrong.

The warrant lists someone named Lawrence Butler, not Lawrence Carnell; and he's wanted on a misdemeanor charge.

"Ultimately bounty hunters have more power than law enforcement," said Sikeston Chief Drew Juden. "It's a big concern for us."

He says one of his officers escorted the bounty hunters to the Carnell's property line, but it turns out the Mississippi men didn't have the authority to take the action they did.

"They don't have any authority in the state unless they are licensed or unless they have a licensed agent with them in Missouri."

So should the bounty hunters have been allowed to go out there?

"I'm not sure if we have the right to restrict them." Chief Juden said.

Now, the bounty hunters face felony charges for acting without a license, but David Carnell says that's not enough.

"I'm not through stirring this pot," Carnell said. "Those guys need to be taught a lesson."

The two suspects will be arraigned in Scott County Wednesday morning.

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