HONOLULU – TV reality star Duane "Dog" Chapman and two co-stars accused of illegal detention and conspiracy in the bounty hunters' capture of a cosmetics company heir in Mexico posted bail and were released Friday.
Chapman was released on $300,000 bail after spending the night in a federal detention center and his co-stars on the popular A&E show "Dog The Bounty Hunter" were freed on $100,000 bail each.
Chapman, his son, Leland Chapman, and associate Timothy Chapman, no relation, were arrested Thursday on charges stemming from the capture of Max Factor heir Andrew Luster on June 18, 2003, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, officials said.
Chapman's capture of Luster, who had fled the country during his trial on charges he raped three women, catapulted the 53-year-old bounty hunter to fame and led to the reality series on A&E. Luster is now serving a 124-year prison term.
Bounty hunting is considered a crime in Mexico, and charges have been pending against the three since local police in Mexico arrested them shortly after they roped in Luster. They posted bail but never returned for their court hearing in July 2003, officials said.
Chapman made the sign of the cross and mouthed "I love you" to his wife, who was sitting in the front row of the crowded courtroom.
The men are now required to wear electronic monitoring devices until they return to court for extradition hearings to face trial in Mexico. The judge said they were not flight risks.
Chapman and his tattooed crew were ordered to surrender their passports, to stay in Hawaii and not possess any firearms.
Defense attorney Brook Hart, who successfully argued during the 1-hour, 10-minute hearing that his clients have no reason to be locked up, called the devices "overkill" but did not object to their use.
"It's ironic that the bounty hunter would go around with a bracelet while arresting people. But so be it," he said.
Reporters and fans packed the courtroom, and several supporters held signs outside the federal courthouse saying, "Let go our hero" and "In Dog we Trust." A&E TV crews were filming the events for a future episode of Chapman's show.
"Our whole family likes Dog. He captures people who do wrong. Plus my older sister wants to marry Leland," said 11-year-old Shannon McNamara, of Los Angeles, who was wearing a Bounty Hunter shirt.
Chapman's son Leland, 29, and Timothy Chapman, 41, assist him in exploits chronicled for the TV show around the Hawaiian Islands. The show focuses on Chapman's family as much as the bounty hunting, which generally involves tracking down bail jumpers, often creating emotional scenes with repentant captives.
A member of a biker gang as a young man, Chapman was convicted in 1977 of being an accessory to murder and sentenced to five years in prison.