and Ken Lee
October 20, 2006 06:10 PM

Lawyers for Duane “Dog” Chapman announced in a Honolulu press conference on Friday that a Mexican court will delay prosecution of the bounty hunter until more evidence in the case can be presented.

Chapman, 53, his son Leland, 29, and his associate, Timothy Chapman (no relation), 41, were arrested by U.S. marshals in Hawaii in September for charges stemming from their 2003 apprehension of Max Factor cosmetics heir Andrew Luster in Mexico, where bounty hunting is illegal.

Chapman said Friday that he’s eager to clear his name in Mexico and return to that country to nab more fugitives: “These guys know where to run, they know where the Dog can’t find them,” he said.

Asked by reporters if chasing down Luster was worth it, Chapman replied, “Absolutely, life is but a trial, you just have to get through it and get stronger.” He reiterated that his team believed they were operating within Mexican law at the time.

When they were arrested in September, Chapman and his co-stars spent the night in federal lock-up before posting $300,000 bond at a bail hearing the next day. “I was put in a cell – if you can imagine what Hannibal Lecter went through, minus the collar,” Chapman said at the time.

The men were originally arrested in Mexico for not turning Luster – a fugitive convicted of raping three women – over to Mexican police and then jumped bail. Luster is currently serving a 124-year prison term in the U.S.

The televised arrest of Luster helped catapult Chapman to fame with his A&E TV show, Dog the Bounty Hunter, now in its third season.

Chapman, his son and his associate have been ordered to appear at an extradition hearing in Hawaii, but is now pending a ruling from the Mexican court. A date also has not been set for the hearing abroad, but Chapman’s lawyers expect it will happen before the year’s end.

Meanwhile, Chapman and his co-stars announced Friday that their ankle bracelets were removed last week and that they continue to film episodes of Bounty Hunter.

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