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Death of bail bond agent shows dangers of the job

Virtually every jail in the country, including the Marion County Jail in Indianapolis, is the de facto office for bail bond agents. While these agents deal almost exclusively with criminal defendants, their line of work is not considered especially dangerous. That perception may change after the shooting death of an Indianapolis bail bond agent at a funeral last week.

A veteran Indianapolis agent planned to attend a funeral at which he would confront a convicted criminal who had violated the terms of his bond. According to the police probable cause affidavit, the bail bond agent planned to confront the two brothers and rely on other agents to effect the arrest. When the two brothers were cornered, one of them jumped on the back of one of the bail bond agents, and a fight erupted. One of the agents told police that he heard two gunshots and saw a gun in the hands of one of the brothers. He then saw that the supervising agent had been shot. The agent chased the brother with the gun, and, during the chase, he saw the brother discard a pistol. The suspect was then caught and arrested. Two shell casings were found at the scene that matched the caliber of the discarded handgun.

Changing pretrial release procedures have raised the risk for bail bond agents when they attempt to apprehend clients who have violated the terms of their bonds. According to one witness, bail bond agents now train in the use of bullet-proof vests and similar equipment.

Many facts in this case are the subject of a continuing investigation. The exact circumstances of the fight and the shooting remain to be verified. The defendants are entitled to be presumed innocent unless they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Anyone facing serious criminal charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the law and evidence that will govern the case.

Source: Indy Star, "Slaying of bail bond agent underscores just how dangerous the job can be," Justin L. Mack, March 26, 2018

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