Bondsman says shooting was self-defense

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer

Bail bondsman Hank Bayless said Saturday he acted in self-defense and he should not have to face criminal charges in connection with the shooting of two people last month while trying to serve an arrest warrant.

Bayless, 63, was indicted Friday by a grand jury for breaking and entering, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to a Friday press release from the district attorney’s office.

Bayless forced his way into a private residence Sept. 20 and shot Javier Sanchez, 33, in the back while trying to take him into custody for failing to appear for a court date, according to the district attorney’s office.

Christina Snell, 31, Bayless’ employee at Hank’ Bail Bonds, was also shot in the leg during the incident at a Gayland Drive apartment.

Bayless was not indicted in connection with shooting Snell, District Attorney Matt Chandler said Saturday.

Bayless was released from the Curry County Detention Center later Friday on a $10,000 bond.

“I didn’t shoot Sanchez in the back or while he was trying to flee,” Bayless said Saturday morning as he pulled weeds outside his office. “He was shot in the butt.”

Bayless said Sanchez was extremely violent and threw Snell to the ground and against walls. He said Sanchez told the bondsmen, “I’m going to kill you.”

“During the struggle to secure him (Sanchez), he tried to disarm me and the gun fired.” Bayless said.

Bayless said he did not force his way into an apartment.

“We paid a resident of the apartment to snitch on Sanchez, call us and leave the door ajar,” Bayless said. “It was not a forced entry.”

Sanchez’ older brother, Joel Sanchez, 35, said a day after the shooting that his brother told him Bayless put a gun to his head when they entered the house. 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.

Sheila Baker of Goodman bail bonds said Sept. 20 that she contacted Bayless to help her arrest Sanchez.

Bayless said he acted as an “independent agent” with Goodman Bail Bonds to arrest Sanchez for failing to appear at an arraignment hearing, and to carry out the bench warrant for Sanchez’ arrest.

Bayless could face six years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines if convicted, according to district attorney’s office.

Meanwhile, Sanchez is being held at the adult detention center on a $10,000 bond, District Attorney Matt Chandler said Saturday.