Four bond agents face charges in Charles Town incident

March 13, 2001

Four bond agents face charges in Charles Town incident

By DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Four agents for a Martinsburg bail bond firm were charged in an incident in which they allegedly entered a home illegally, pushed a man to the ground, handcuffed him, and damaged the home.

Charged with two misdemeanor counts each were: John G. Dean, 28, of 121 W. John St., Martinsburg; James A. Sailliez, 26, of Route 2, Bunker Hill, W.Va.; Dennis W. Morris, 35, 106 N. King St., Leesburg, Va., and Treddy T. Dowdell, 21, 75H Plaza St., Leesburg, Va., according to court records.

Each man was charged with entering a residence without permission, and failure to exercise due care to protect property, according to court records.

The bond agents, who were working for Xpress Bail Bonds at 121 W. John St., Martinsburg, apparently were looking for someone who had not been in the house, the woman who reported the incident told police. The men entered the home even though the man who was there told them they didn't have permission, then pushed the man to the ground and handcuffed him, according to charging documents filed in Jefferson County Magistrate Court.


The woman who reported the incident is the victim's aunt.

The bond agents also overturned beds, kicked holes in the wall of the house and sprayed a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. with a substance, according to charging documents. Each of the misdemeanor charges carries a possible fine of $500 to $10,000 and up to 60 days in jail, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Gail Boober, who arraigned the four Monday. Boober released each man on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond. Boober also ordered the men to stop doing bail bond work until the case is resolved.

On Feb. 7, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department received a complaint from a woman who said several bail bond agents entered a house in the Fox Glen subdivision, which is located along W.Va. 9 about five miles west of Charles Town.

The bond agents were looking for a man, but the person had never lived there, the woman told police.

Deputy Ward Sigler said he obtained a statement from the woman's nephew, who stated the men forced the door open, pushed him to the ground and handcuffed him. The nephew said he never gave the men permission to enter the house.

The framed picture of Martin Luther King had the last name of the person they were looking for sprayed on it, according to court records.

Dean, the bail bond agent charged in the case, told police he sprayed the picture with decorating snow he found in a closet, according to court records.

Jesse Jones, chief deputy of the sheriff's department, said the incident was the first he could remember where local bail bond agents have been charged with such an offense.

Jones said bail bond agents cannot be allowed to go on a "fishing expedition, so to speak. What's to keep them from coming to your house and doing the same thing?"

Keith Custer, owner of Xpress Bail Bonds, downplayed the incident Monday and defended the work his agents do.

"In our line of work, we walk a fine line." Custer said.

When an individual is charged with a crime, he can pay a percentage of his bond to a bail bond agent to be released. If the individual does not show up for court appearances, the bail bond agent is responsible for paying that person's bail, and can hire agents, often called bounty hunters, to track down people who don't show up for court.

The Herald-Mail Articles