Duane Chapman

Duane Chapman
Duane "Dog" Chapman

Dog Chapman during a visit aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz
Born Duane Lee Chapman
February 2, 1953 (1953-02-02) (age 58)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Occupation Bounty hunter
Bail bondsman
Television personality
Years active 1988–present
Spouse La Fonda Sue Honeycutt (1972–77) (divorced)
Anne Tegnell (1979–82)

Lyssa Rae Brittain (1982–91)

Tawny Marie (1991–2003)
Beth Smith (2006–present)
Children 12 (including Duane Lee Chapman, II, Leland Chapman and Lyssa Chapman)[2]

Duane Lee "Dog" Chapman, Sr. (born February 2, 1953) is an American bounty hunter and a former bail bondsman. He stars in Dog the Bounty Hunter,[3] a weekly reality television program which is broadcast on the A&E Network (USA), FOX8 and GO! (Australia), OLN and A&E Network (Canada), MAX (Norway) and RTL II (Germany).

Chapman claims he has made more than 6,000 captures in his 27-year career. As an ex-con, he says: “I am what rehabilitation stands for.” [4]


Early life

Duane Lee Chapman was born on February 2, 1953, to Wesley Chapman and Barbara Chapman. He is the eldest of four children, having two younger sisters and one brother. According to Chapman, he is of Native American Cherokee ancestry, on his mother's side.[5] While a member of the Devils Diciples, an outlaw motorcycle club, Chapman reportedly gained the nickname "Dog" ("God" spelled backwards) from another gang member,[6] because of his relationship with God. His mother was a minister for the First Assembly of God church and passed her faith onto her son.[7] He quit school after junior high.[citation needed]

Legal issues

In 1976, Chapman and another gang member were buying marijuana in Texas, and Chapman was waiting in the car while the other gang member shot and killed the drug dealer. Chapman was charged with murder and sentenced to five years in prison. He served less than two of those years, at Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, TX. While Duane was in prison, Duane divorced his first wife LaFonda. While there, he did field work and served as the warden's barber.[8] Because of this felony conviction, Chapman is not allowed to carry a firearm. Constructive possession laws also preclude anyone else on the team from carrying firearms as long as Chapman is nearby, as well.

Luster Case

On June 18, 2003, Chapman made international news capturing Andrew Luster who fled the United States in the middle of his trial for drugging and raping a number of women, and was convicted in absentia on 86 counts including multiple rape charges connected to assaults in 1996, 1997 and 2000.[9] Chapman was assisted by his "hunt team", consisting of his son Leland and Tim Chapman. The three bounty hunters captured Luster in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where he had been living under an assumed name. On their way to California, while still in Mexico, they were pulled over by Mexican police, and all four of them were jailed. Once the authorities confirmed Luster's identity, he was sent to California to face his 124 year sentence.

Chapman and his team, still in the Mexican jail, were initially denied bail, but after Beth alerted the media and aroused public opinion in the United States, they were granted bail. Once out of jail on bail, they decided to flee the jurisdiction, thereby becoming international bail-jumpers. On September 14, 2006, days before the expiration of the statute of limitations, Chapman, along with his son Leland Chapman and associate Tim Chapman, were arrested by United States Marshals and jailed in Honolulu on behalf of the Mexican government.[10] Mexican authorities had charged all three with deprivation of liberty, involving the 2003 apprehension of Andrew Luster, because bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico. Because they did not obtain permission to leave the country while out on bail in 2003, the Mexican Government declared Duane, Leland and Tim Chapman fugitives from justice and tried to get them extradited to Mexico for sentencing. After spending one night in the federal detention center in Honolulu, Chapman told reporters: "The federal marshals treated us with great respect. But let me tell you, you never want to go to a federal prison, because it's terrible."[11]

The next day, September 15, 2006, Chapman appeared in a packed Honolulu courtroom with his ankles shackled.[10] Although the judge agreed that the men were not a significant flight risk, he ordered that each wear an electronic monitoring device around the ankle.[11]  The three men were released on bail ($300,000 for Duane Chapman, $100,000 each for Leland Chapman and Tim Chapman). They were also ordered to wear an electronic ankle bracelet for house arrest.[12] Beth Chapman was detained and had a hearing after she was caught wearing an A&E body microphone when entering the courthouse for their bond hearing; electronic recording devices are prohibited by law from being carried into federal courthouses.[13] She was released after explaining that she "didn't know they had the mic and transmitter"; the judge was satisfied that no recording was done.[14][15] Chapman's lead attorney, Brook Hart, reportedly planned to argue that although the charge Chapman faced is a misdemeanor in Mexico[citation needed], when translated into English it became a felony (kidnapping) under American law.[12] Mexican authorities dismissed Hart's claim as the desperate efforts of an American lawyer trying to free his client. They insisted that Chapman had, in fact, been charged with a felony. An extradition hearing was set for November 16, 2006, where both sides were to present evidence and witnesses.[12]

Chapman has speculated that his arrest was due in part to a possible prisoner exchange agreement between the Mexican and American authorities. According to Chapman, the federal agents 'sold him out', by trading him in for a convicted Mexican drug lord.[16] Duane, Leland, and Tim had their ankle bracelets removed so they could work.[17] On October 11, 2006, reports surfaced of an open letter dated September 26, 2006, sent on Chapman's behalf by 29 Republican Congressmen to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The letter stated the authors' opposition to Chapman's extradition and requested that Rice deny Mexico's request for same.[18] Subsequently on October 20, 2006, lawyers for Chapman said that the Mexican federal court had granted them an order that halted the criminal case against the bounty hunter until further evidence and witness testimony were gathered.[19] A court hearing was held on December 23, 2006. The original hearing was postponed because a report from a lower court was not yet received. The court heard both sides of the story, and then decided to recess. Then court proceedings started on January 16, 2007 and the court had up to Tuesday, February 6, 2007 but the deadline was extended.

On February 16, 2007, a Mexican Federal court cleared the way for Duane Chapman to be extradited, ruling there was no reason not to try him with the charge of deprivation of liberty in Mexico.[20] In response, on February 23, Hawaii State Representatives Gene Ward, Karen Awana, Rida Cabanilla, Lynn Finnegan, Barbara Marumoto, Colleen Meyer, Kymberly Pine, Joe Bertram, Ken Ito, Marylin Lee, and John Mizuno introduced 'House Concurrent Resolution 50', "Requesting the President of Mexico and the Second District Court of Guadalajara to drop extradition charges against TV Bounty Hunter, Duane 'Dog' Chapman".[21] The resolution was passed by the International Affairs committee on March 7.[22]

During this time, Chapman, along with his new attorney, William C. Bollard, appeared on numerous media shows. Some of these include: Larry King Live, Greta Van Susteren, Mark and Mercedez Morning Show on Mix 94.1 KMXB in Las Vegas, The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet on WFLD, Fox 6 News San Diego, The Glenn Beck Program, and THE 9 on Yahoo!. Honolulu news outlet KHNL reported on August 1, 2007 that the arrest warrant issued for Chapman and his associates might be invalidated, as a Mexican court had found that the statute of limitations regarding the arrest had expired. The 15-page legal order was released in Spanish and was translated and verified for legal acuity.[23] On September 29, 2006, Chapman received permission to have the electronic monitoring device removed temporarily so that he could travel to the East Coast for previously planned appearances.[24] On August 2, 2007, the First Criminal Court in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, dismissed all criminal charges pending against Duane, Leland and Tim Chapman on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired. The order effectively cancelled all pending charges. The prosecution appealed the ruling; this is standard practice in Mexico, according to A&E.[25] The prosecution's argument was twofold: first, the Court was rewarding the Chapmans for having evaded capture and fighting extradition, and second, that in the United States the issuance of an arrest warrant tolls the statute of limitations.[citation needed] Had the Mexican rule been applied to Luster, he too would have been let go.[citation needed] On November 5, 2007, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren dismissed the extradition attempt, saying that even though the cases were appealed, the trio are no longer charged with any offenses.


After decades of bounty hunting, Chapman was featured on Take This Job, a program about people with unusual occupations. He and the show's production company decided to do a spin off and draw attention to his efforts with a hunt and capture of Max Factor cosmetics heir Andrew Luster, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Dog The Bounty Hunter

After Luster's jailing, Duane Chapman was interviewed for a documentary which was published on August 28, 2009 by Dominick Dunne on Power, Privilege, and Justice broadcast via the TruTV network. Chapman had come to the attention of the American public, and in the midst of the media attention, A&E decided to base an ongoing reality series around Chapman's bounty hunting. Dog The Bounty Hunter made its television debut on August 30, 2004.


Chapman released his best- selling autobiography, " You Can Run But You Can't Hide" in 2007. In it he reveals all the roles of his past life: petty thief, felon, volunteer, doper, gang banger, boxer, biker, convict, champion vacuum salesman, evangelist, loving father, loving son, abused kid, prison inmate, bounty hunter, hero, homeless man, cellmate, barber, laundry worker, entrepreneur, counselor, bail bondsman, A&E star, father of twelve, grandfather, and five-time husband. [26] The book appeared on every national bestseller list, including the New York Times, where it debuted at #1. [27]

His second book, "Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given" debuted in 2010.[28] In it Chapman continues the story of his adventures and his embracing Christianity, which he considers his "redemption". [27]


Racial slur and fall out

In 2007, Chapman also gained media attention when a private phone conversation between him and his son, Tucker, was leaked. The conversation implied that Chapman had a racist attitude, as he expressed his anger at his son for being in a relationship with a black girl and used a racial slur. After the tape was made public, A&E announced it was suspending production for the series pending an investigation.[29][30] On October 31, 2007, Chapman issued a public apology.[31]

On November 2, 2007, A&E announced it was removing the show from their schedule "for the foreseeable future." [32]

On December 21, 2007, Roy Innis, the chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, one of the first to call the A&E network to have the show taken off the air, met with Alicia Colon of The New York Sun and Chapman. Innis stated for the daily newspaper, "After meeting with him and his wife, Beth, and hearing his side of the story, we realized that the controversy had unjustly spiraled out of control without context." [33]

He went on to say, "Duane has taken ownership of the damage of his words and has taken on the responsibility of being a racial healer for our country... I have been with this man several times and had extensive dialogues with him. I consider him and his wife good friends. Duane is a changed man and has a higher purpose. Popular television is a wasteland of meaningless titillation and degradation. The Dog's potential to take his celebrity and turn it into something redeeming for our culture and society is immense. It is for these reasons that we want his television show back on the air."[33] On February 19, 2008, A&E announced that the show would return to production.[34]

Personal life

Chapman's first child is Christopher Michael Hecht from a late-teens relationship with Debbie White. Chapman was not aware of the child's existence, and Christopher was adopted after White's suicide. Upon reaching adulthood, Christopher was reunited with his father when his grandmother contacted Chapman to tell him he had a grown son.[2]

Chapman married LaFonda Sue Honeycutt on April 1, 1972, in Texas; they divorced October 27, 1977, while he was in prison.[1] They had two children together, Duane Lee Chapman and Leland Chapman. Although the boys were not allowed to see their father for several years, they began rebuilding a relationship when the boys were 11 and 8 years old. Later, when they began getting into trouble as teenagers, Chapman obtained custody of them.[2]

Chapman married Anne M. Tegnell on August 22, 1979, in Colorado. They were divorced, according to court records, on August 5, 1982.[1] Three children resulted from this marriage; Zebediah Duane Chapman, Wesley Chapman, and J.R. "James" Chapman. Zebediah died shortly after birth in 1980. Wesley and J.R. were raised by their mother in Utah.[2]

Chapman married Lyssa Rae Brittain on June 22, 1982. They were divorced on November 20, 1991.[1] They have four children: Barbara Katie Chapman, (1982-2006)[35] Tucker Dee Chapman, Lyssa Rae Chapman a.k.a. Baby Lyssa, and Nicholas Chapman.[2] Chapman retained custody of the children as they grew up, although the girls went to live with their mother as young teenagers. Barbara Katie, a.k.a. B-K, died in a car accident in Fairbanks, Alaska in 2006 the day before her father's wedding to Beth Smith.[citation needed]

Chapman and Tawny Marie were married in 1992, but filed for divorce in 1994.[1] Court records show they were officially divorced in 2002.[1] Tawny helped him raise his children and bury his mother. They moved to Hawaii after having spent one week as guests at an Anthony Robbins Mastery program in 1991. They had no children together. Chapman later said:

"Tawny coerced me into marrying her. I told her I didn't want to marry her because I liked women too much to settle down ... I knew in my heart that marrying Tawny was a mistake. She was all wrong for me ... Despite my misgivings, I married Tawny ... It was a disaster from the start."[36]

Chapman met his fifth wife Alice Elizabeth (Smith) Barmore (a.k.a. Beth) in 1988, when she was 19. Throughout the next decade, they had an on and off romantic relationship, even marrying others. Beth has two children from previous relationships, Dominic Davis (taken into state custody when Beth was 17 years old) and Cecily Barmore-Chapman (from her previous marriage to her first husband, who was Duane's best friend in high school).[citation needed] In 1995, Chapman and Beth joined forces in business and life, finally blending their families and moving in together. Beth runs the bail bonds office and goes bounty hunting with her husband, often counseling the detainees. After 16 years together, they made it official, marrying on May 20, 2006, at the Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii. Besides Beth's daughter Cecily, whom Chapman has adopted, they have two children together, Bonnie Joanne Chapman and Garry Chapman. Dominic rejoined the family as an adult, when Chapman located him for Beth.[citation needed]

Currently, Duane Chapman, Beth Chapman, his sons Leland Chapman and Duane Lee Chapman, II, and his daughter Lyssa Chapman all work together as bail bondsmen and bounty hunters. Their work is the subject of the Dog the Bounty Hunter show, currently in its seventh season on A&E.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Sheri & Bob Stritof. "Previous Marriages of Duane Dog Chapman and Beth Smith". About.com. http://marriage.about.com/od/entertainmen1/a/dogprevious.htm. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Sheri & Bob Stritof. "Duane Dog Chapman and Beth Smith Marriage Profile". About.com. http://marriage.about.com/od/entertainmen1/p/chapmansmith.htm. Retrieved 2010-10-04. 
  3. ^ "A&E's Dog the Bounty Hunter website". A&E. http://www.dogthebountyhunter.com/. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  4. ^ http://www.aetv.com/dog-the-bounty-hunter/meet-family/duane-dog-chapman.jsp
  5. ^ Episode "Year of the Dog"
  6. ^ Acey, Madeleine (2003-06-18). "Profile: Duane 'Dog' Chapman, bounty hunter". London: Times Online
  7. ^ Acey, Madeleine (2003-06-18). "Profile: Duane 'Dog' Chapman, bounty hunter". London: Times Online. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/tools_and_services/specials/article1099178.ece. 
  8. ^ "Charges Dropped: Bounty Hunter Duane 'Dog' Chapman Discusses Legal Ordeal". Fox News. 2007-08-07. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,292383,00.html. 
  9. ^ [ The trial must go on: Conviction in absentia], Court TV news, Updated June 18, 2003, 7:16 p.m. ET
  10. ^ a b "Bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman arrested". Associated Press. 2006-09-14. 
  11. ^ a b "Duane 'Dog' Chapman faces electric cuff after being collared". Boston Herald. 2006-09-18. 
  12. ^ a b c Pereira, Andrew (2006-09-15). "Duane". KHON-TV. 
  13. ^ Cosby, Rita (2006-09-15). "Free The Dog". MSNBC. 
  14. ^ Kobayashi, Ken; Lum, Curtis (2006-09-16). "'Dog' freed on bail, says he'll be cleared". Honolulu Advertiser. 
  15. ^ "Judge Unleashes 'Dog' On Bail". The Hawaii Channel. 2006-09-15. 
  16. ^ "Duane 'Dog' Chapman Says Feds Sold Him Out to Mexico in Exchange for Drug Lord". Fox News. 2006-09-16. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,214484,00.html. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  17. ^ "Duane 'Dog' Chapman Released From Ankle Bracelet". Associated Press. 2007-09-29. 
  18. ^ "Congressmen ask Rice to keep 'Dog The Bounty Hunter' in U.S.". WBIR. 2006-09-16. 
  19. ^ "TV bounty hunter Duane 'Dog' Chapman grabs a legal victory in Mexico". MSN. 2006-10-20. 
  20. ^ "'Dog' loses extradition battle". Associated Press. 2007-02-16. 
  21. ^ "HCR50". Hawaii State Legislature. 2007-02-23. http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2007/bills/HCR50_HD1_.htm. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  22. ^ "Hawaii Passes Resolution Supporting 'Dog' Chapman". The Hawaii Channel. 2007-03-07. 
  23. ^ "Mexican Case Against Dog Chapman Could Be Dismissed". KHNL. 2007-08-01. 
  24. ^ 'Dog' Chapman released from ankle bracelet, USATODAY, 9/29/2006 9:43am ET
  25. ^ "Dog the Bounty Hunter's Mexico Case, latest hurdle". Monsters & Critics.Com. 2007-08-04. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/smallscreen/news/article_1338674.php/Dog_the_Bounty_Hunter_s_Mexico_Case_latest_hurdle. Retrieved 2010-10-13. 
  26. ^ http://www.amazon.com/You-Can-Run-Cant-Hide/dp/1401303684
  27. ^ a b http://shop.history.com/where-mercy-is-shown-mercy-is-given-hardcover-book/detail.php?p=255735&v=aetv_show_dog-the-bounty-hunter
  28. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Where-Mercy-Shown-Given/dp/1401323715
  29. ^ "A&E Suspends Production on "Dog the Bounty Hunter"". TMZ. 2007-10-31. 
  30. ^ Natalie Finn (2007-10-31). "Dog N-Bombs Himself into Hiatus". E! Online. http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b56603_Dog_N-Bombs_Himself_into_Hiatus.html. Retrieved 2010-10-11. 
  31. ^ "Dog the Bounty Hunter Duane Chapman Apologizes for Racist Slurs". People magazine. 2007-10-31. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20156035,00.html. 
  32. ^ "A&E cancels Dog's show". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 2007-11-02. 
  33. ^ a b Colon, Alicia (2007-12-21). "Out Of the 'Dog' House". The New York Sun. http://www.nysun.com/new-york/out-of-the-dog-house/68487/. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  34. ^ "Bounty Hunter "Dog" to return to the air". Reuters. February 20, 2008. http://www.reuters.com/article/televisionNews/idUSSP8436520080220. 
  35. ^ Duane Dog Chapman and Beth Smith Marriage Profile - The Marriage of Duane Dog Chapman and Beth Smith
  36. ^ Duane Dog Chapman. You Can Run But You Can't Hide 2007, pg 138.

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