'Dog' Chapman says Mexican charges have been dropped
|•||'Dog' in Hawai'i|
By Kim Fassler and Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Staff Writers
By Kim Fassler and Lynda Arakawa
TV bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman last night said Mexican charges against him have been dropped.
"Who would believe that the day Mexico dropped the charges on Dog, Leland and Tim is the day the book comes out?" Chapman told an audience of about 300 people last night at an event at Kahala Mall launching his new book.
Chapman raised his arm, gave a big shaka, and the crowd cheered.
"The weight has been lifted off my chest," he said. "Viva la Mexico!"
Chapman, his son Leland, and colleague Tim Chapman were arrested in September by U.S. marshals in Honolulu and jailed on an extradition warrant requested by Mexico. Prosecutors in Mexico wanted to bring them to trial because they allegedly broke Mexican law by taking now-convicted rapist and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster into custody inside Mexico in 2003. Luster is serving a 124-year sentence in California.
Chapman's attorney, Brook Hart, yesterday said he has heard charges against the reality show star have been dismissed, but said he can't confirm it until he sees an English translation of an order issued by a Mexican court.
Hart said his co-counsel in Mexico informed him of the 15-page order and that he hopes to see a translation by today or Friday.
"All I can say is that the order that the Mexican court issued, I'm told, is based upon a finding that the statute of limitations expired and that the attempted further prosecution of the Chapmans is barred by that statute," Hart said.
"I can't comment further other than to confirm that yes, an order was issued, and yes, it appears to be a very positive result for the Chapmans."
Chapman's publicist, Mona Wood, said Chapman's only statement was, "Viva la Mexico," and that his wife, Beth, "added that she'd like to thank all the fans."
"We have heard the news; we're being cautiously optimistic because we do not have the document in our hands right now," Wood said.
Jonette Murota, 37, of Kaimuki, wore a Dog the Bounty Hunter T-shirt to last night's book-signing event at Kahala Mall for "You Can Run but You Can't Hide: The Life and Times of Dog the Bounty Hunter."
"It was a story that was really relevant because it was such an injustice," said Murota, who added she wrote more than 100 letters to legislators, Congress and President Bush asking them to intervene on Chapman's behalf. "He's an American hero. I'm very happy."
Hart, while emphasizing that he can't make conclusions about the order, said he would be "very surprised" if the order didn't also apply to Chapman's son and colleague.
"I believe what has happened is very positive and favorable for the Chapmans, and once we get the order and translate it and determine what Mexico is doing, whether they're taking any further action and what (the U.S. attorney's office) may do in response to it, then we will certainly be able to discuss it more completely," he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Johnson declined comment, saying the U.S. attorney's office has not received any official information on the matter.
Reach Lynda Arakawa at email@example.com.