The rules of bounty hunters - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

The rules of bounty hunters

By CJ Cassidy - bio | email

SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - Two Mississippi bounty hunters blamed for a awakening a Sikeston couple in the middle of the night pleaded not guilty to felony charges against them in a Scott County court Wednesday.

Investigators say they were operating without a Missouri license.

The couple says the men woke them up in the middle of the night demanding to be let inside.

David and Jenny Carnell say the men had all their information wrong.

"They're threatening to kick in the door," said David Carnell. "I say 'Who are you?' They say 'It don't matter who I am.'  I'm sorry it does on this side of the door."

Bounty hunter John Mackey agrees.

"You have to identify yourself as a bondsman and show your ID, your photo ID," Mackey said. 

As a bail bondsman and licensed fugitive recovery agent in Missouri, Mackey carries leg irons, handcuffs, pepper spray and a gun.  So far though, Mackey says he's never fired his weapon.

He says bounty hunters can get a bad name if they don't follow the rules when tracking someone down.

"You go to the home you've got to make sure they are there," Mackey said.  "Make sure before you breaking in, that you actually see them."

That's what the Carnell couple says the Mississippi men did when they tried to barge into their home.  They say they came to the wrong house.

"I think bounty hunters are a necessary evil," Prosecutor Morley Swingle said.

He points out as long as bounty hunters don't cross any lines, they can help free up police to chase down other crooks and save taxpayers money.

"All 50 states have to go through an extradition process if a prisoner is caught in another state. It's a time consuming process."

"We have more leniency capturing someone," Mackey said. "Say we have someone in California from scott county, the law says we have 72 hours to get him back to jail. We don't have to feed him, we don't have to water him we don't have to do anything."

But Mackey says he is always careful to stay on the right side of the law.

One wrong step and he could end up like the two men did, in front of a judge.

"Nobody's above the law. To do this kind of work you have to know the rules and regulations," he said.

The two Mississippi men will be back in court in Scott County in September.

I tried talking to them and their attorney, but they refused to comment.

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