MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – Two bounty hunters crossed the legal line Saturday when they used a stun gun on a homeowner and fatally shot his dog, Midwest City Police said.
The incident was videotaped by the defendants.
Melvin Gene Marshall, 56, and 23-year-old Jathan Brian Hunt are expected to face charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and acts of cruelty to an animal.
In a police affidavit released Thursday, a Midwest City officer said Marshall, Hunt and Gary Duke showed up in the 3600 block of Woodside Dr. to find a man who had allegedly violated his bond by missing a court appearance.
“They did supply the video to us, feeling like it may be on their best behalf and maybe part of their defense,” Chief Brandon Clabes said. “But after looking at the video, I don’t see any defense to these charges.”
“As far as I’m concerned, he was some home invader,” homeowner Roger Latture said Wednesday, referring to Marshall.
The affidavit indicates when Latture answered the door “Marshall tells (Latture) to show him his hands.”
Latture’s 15-year-old black Labrador then runs out of the house, barking.
As the dog approaches Hunt, the video shows him drawing his gun and shooting the dog, killing it.
Latture became enraged, yelling and cursing at the men.
According to the affidavit, Marshall said, “You either back up or I’m gonna drop you.”
Latture said “shoot me” and begins to turn away, at which point Marshall deployed his stun gun into Latture’s upper right chest area.
“It was so high up on me that it felt like he shot me in the face,” Latture said.
Marshall told police Latture had gone after his partner, then turned on him.
In the video, Latture’s roommate asked Marshall why he had to tase him.
Marshall said, “When he swole his fist up at me, that’s all it takes.”
In the affidavit, the officer claimed while watching the video, he didn’t see Latture make an offensive gesture towards Marshall before being tased.
“We’re trying to improve our image,” Dudley Goolsby said, President of the Oklahoma Bondsman Association.
He’s hopeful Senate Bill 1013, the ‘Bail Enforcement and Licensing Act,” will clear up the gray area for bounty hunter requirements.
It states without having a license from the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET), a bounty hunter could face a $10,000 fine and up to three years in prison.
“For one thing, it’ll make you think a little more,” Goolsby said. “Then as a bondsman, you’re going to have to learn to hire people that are more responsible because it’s going to come back on you.”
The senate bill is pending.