Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sat, Feb. 22

Bounty hunter acquitted

A bail recovery agent who was wounded while trying to catch a fugitive July 31, 1999, was acquitted earlier this month of felony charges of illegal entry and illegal identification by a bail bond agent.

"I did everything according to the law," James Barrett of Kingman said.

Barrett would have faced a maximum sentence of four years in state prison if convicted, said Jace Zack, chief deputy attorney for Mohave County.

A jury in Superior Court Judge Steven Conn's courtroom acquitted him May 11.

"I filed the charged (against Barrett) because the legislature passed a law a couple of years ago regulating how bounty hunters do business," Zack said.

"Evidence suggested that he violated the state law."

The law regulates the conditions under which bounty hunters may enter residences and how they may dress, Zack said.

"I think the jury realized that he was doing his job and that the residents inside the house where the fugitive was being harbored had poor credibility," said Barrett's attorney, Lee Novak of Kingman.

Barrett was shot by Thomas Kerley while Barrett and two others attempted to catch the fugitive in the Butler area.

The bounty hunters reportedly were looking to arrest Kerley for skipping out on a bond when they arrived at his home on Lass Avenue.

Kerley was sentenced April 5 by Conn to four concurrent sentences totaling 11 years and three months on charges of burglary and theft.

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