PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico – A Mexican judge has ruled to close the criminal case against bounty hunter and TV reality star Duane "Dog" Chapman, but state prosecutors have appealed the decision, officials said Thursday.
In the July 27 ruling, Judge Jose Alberto Montes said the statute of limitations has expired on the case, said Guillermo Diaz, assistant prosecutor for the state of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located.
Chapman was arrested in September by U.S. authorities on a Mexican warrant stemming from his 2003 capture of fugitive convicted rapist and Max Factor cosmetics heir Andrew Luster in Puerto Vallarta. Bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico.
State prosecutors, however, want to continue pursuing Mexico's request to have Chapman extradited, Diaz said. The courts are expected to rule on prosecutors' appeal in coming months.
Chapman stars in A&E's "Dog the Bounty Hunter," which is based in Hawaii. He expressed relief at Montes' decision.
"The weight has been lifted off my chest," he said. "Viva la Mexico!"