Calling himself “a prisoner of war in a war against crime,” Duane “Dog” Chapman says that, despite his arrest for bounty hunting in Mexico and the prospect of jail time, “I would absolutely do it again.”
On Tuesday night’s A&E special Dog: The Family Speaks Out, Chapman said, “You sit all alone in your cell and you wonder, Is this karma?” and admitted, “My biggest fear is going back to Mexico and doing time.” He faces six months to four years in a Mexican prison.
Chapman, 53, his son Leland, 29, and brother Timothy Chapman, 41, were arrested by U.S. marshals in Hawaii on charges of depravation of liberty and illegal seizure for their 2003 capture of convicted serial rapist Andrew Luster in Mexico.
Though Luster is now serving a 124-year prison term in the U.S., bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico, and the three face extradition.
The raid on Chapman’s home took place just before dawn on Sept. 14. On the TV special, Chapman said that when his wife Beth told him marshals were there to arrest him, his response was, “No. My taxes are paid. What have I done?”
He added, “They arrested me the way I would have arrested them with respect.” But, he said, he heard the words he dreaded most: “The Mexican government wants you back.”
Chapman spent the night in a federal lock-up before posting $300,000 bond at a Sept. 15 bail hearing. “I was put in a cell – if you can imagine what Hannibal Lecter went through, minus the collar,” he said.
Leland Chapman said the other prisoners, many of whom had been put behind bars by the bounty hunters, “were screaming at us, saying they were going to kill us.”
Now wearing an ankle monitor and required to stay in his house between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., Chapman joked about being under his wife’s supervision, and wondered what she might do if he doesn’t finish his spaghetti. Said Beth, “I got him where I want him. This is going to work out splendidly.”
Still, the family is worried. Chapman’s lawyers said they hoped the matter would be resolved without going to trial, though that may not be possible.
Meanwhile, Chapman’s defense could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. To help, one of Andrew Luster’s victims is starting a legal defense fund.
At the end of the show, Chapman said, “I tell my kids, Your daddy’s going to die with his boots on. Truth and justice have to prevail.”