By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer
District Attorney Matt Chandler said he will decide today whether to file charges against a Clovis bail bondsman involved in shooting two people — including a co-worker — while attempting to revoke a bond.
Hank Bayless of Hank’s Bail Bonds shot Christina Snell and suspected bail-jumper Javier Sanchez, Chandler said.
Bayless was questioned and released Tuesday by Clovis police.
Snell, 31, was released from University Medical Center in Lubbock early Wednesday morning after suffering a bullet wound to her right calf.
Sanchez, 33, who was shot in the lower back, is being held at the Curry County Detention Center on $10,461 bond.
Chandler said Clovis police are still working the case and they will present statements and evidence for review to his office this morning. He said police have received conflicting statements from witnesses.
“We’re still not exactly sure what happened,” Chandler said.
He said the laws for bounty hunters regarding use of lethal force are the same as for any citizen — “if you fear for your (life) or the life of another.”
Chandler said “The New Mexico Court of Appeals has established the rights of bounty hunters. There’s criteria for what they can and cannot do: They cannot use unnecessary means to make the transaction, they cannot go into the home of a third party looking for a wanted individual without permission, and they cannot conceal a weapon without a legal permit.”
According to court records, Sanchez failed to appear in court Aug. 9 for his arraignment on multiple felony and misdemeanor charges.
Sheila Baker of Goodman Bail Bonds in Clovis had posted $32,000 for his release on May 1.
Baker said she contracted Bayless to assist in apprehending Sanchez because she believed Sanchez had a violent streak and neither she nor any of her employees at Goodman Bail Bonds carry guns.
Sanchez’ older brother, Joel Sanchez, 35, said his brother told him Bayless put a gun to his head when they entered the house on Tuesday. He said his brother told him he tried to run because he didn’t want to go back to jail.
“He told me Bayless stepped back and shot him. Charges should be filed against Hank,” Joel Sanchez said. “I don’t see why Hank wasn’t arrested on the spot. Having a license to carry a gun doesn’t give you the right to shoot someone.”
Snell said Bayless acted in self-defense when they located Sanchez shortly after 10 a.m. in a home in the 300 block of Gayland Drive.
She said the front door was ajar when they approached the house and she entered. Snell said Sanchez was sitting on the couch.
She said Sanchez tried to escape by running out the door, and in the process he knocked her to the ground. Snell said she saw Sanchez trying to take the gun from Bayless when it went off.
She said Sanchez was shot outside the dwelling trying to escape.
Bayless refused comment.
“I don’t want Hank Bayless to be charged,” Snell said Wednesday. “I want everyone to know that Hank acted in self-defense; he thought Sanchez was going to hurt me.”
Baker said on Tuesday that Bayless called Clovis police three times asking for backup before entering the home but that police denied the requests.
On Wednesday, Clovis Police Lt. Jim Schoeffel said police dispatchers received a call for backup at 10:06 a.m. Tuesday. He said an officer was dispatched at 10:07 a.m., shots were fired at 10:10 a.m. and police officers arrived at the scene at 10:12 a.m.