Society

Seven Bounty Hunters Charged On 16 Separate Counts

| by Shani Shahmoon

Seven bounty hunters have been indicted on murder charges in a hunt gone wrong.

On April 23, four men were wrongfully attacked by seven bounty hunters and bail bondsmen in Clarksville, Tennessee, USA Today reported. Shots were fired killing one man and injuring another. Investigations later showed that none of the victims had warrants on file.

Jaydon Hogan, Marquentas Gold, Tyrone McKeage, and Jalen Johnson were in the car that was attacked by the bounty hunters, local Clarksville paper The Leaf Chronicle reported.

These seven men were reportedly searching for William Ellis when they came across what they thought was his car outside of Wal-Mart in Clarksville. The four men in the car proceeded to drive away and the bounty hunters and bondsmen chased them for around seven miles. The chase ended with bullets, leaving Hogan, the driver, wounded. The deceased man was 24-year-old Johnson, a Clarksville resident and father of three.

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Ellis was not in the car, and none of the men in the car had warrants issued on them.

The bounty hunters and bondsmen had the wrong car, and as a result of their actions, were charged on counts of first-degree murder, attempted kidnapping, aggravated assault and more.

Bounty hunters are not allowed to use weapons unless it is for self-defense. And while the bounty hunters claimed the men in the sedan shot them at first, an investigation later revealed that there is no evidence that the victims fired at the defendants, nor is there evidence they were ever armed with the weapons needed to fire at them, WBNS reported.

Clarksville Police spokesman Jim Knoll said: "After an exhaustive investigation, numerous man hours expended interviewing individuals, processing crime scenes, and sorting through statements and evidence, the information was presented to the grand jury for consideration."

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On May 2, a grand jury indicted the seven men on 16 charges each.

A bail bond of $300,000 was set for each of the defendants.

Family members of the victims were upset there was a bond in the first place.

Johnson's uncle, Ronnie Milan, said, "He can't get out of the casket, so they shouldn't be able to get out on bond."

"He was 24 and healthy as a tree and now he's dead and gone," he added.

Following the indictment, the seven men -- William L. Byles, 31, Kenneth Chiasson, 38, Antwon D. Keesee, 32, Jonathan Schnepp, 31, Roger D. West, 31, Prentice L. Williams, 34 and Joshua Young, 27 -- were booked into Montgomery County Jail.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Sources: USA Today, The Leaf Chronicle, WBNS / Photo credit: Enoch Lai/Wikimedia Commons

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