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'IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY ...' JUDGE SAYS NO REWARD TO BOUNTY HUNTER.

Byline: Grace Lee Staff Writer

VENTURA - The $1 million bail forfeited when serial rapist Andrew Luster fled the country will go to law-enforcement agencies and his three victims, not to the bounty hunter who captured the Max Factor heir in Mexico, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Ventura County Superior Court Judge Edward Brodie said professional bounty hunter Duane ``Dog'' Chapman was entitled to none of the money because he broke Mexican law while apprehending Luster on June 18 in Puerto Vallarta.

``I don't condone vigilante justice that violates the law,'' said Brodie, prompting Chapman to storm out of the courtroom trailed by a cadre of television cameras.

Outside the courtroom, Chapman said he respected Brodie's decision, even if he disagreed.

``It's not about the money,'' said Chapman, who had sought $250,000. ``It was Andrew Luster against the Dog, and the Dog won.''

In addition to Chapman, claims on the $1 million had been filed by Luster himself; his mother, Elizabeth; and his three victims. A Washington couple who had tipped Chapman that Luster was in Mexico also sought some of the money.

But Brodie determined most of the money would be used to reimburse county agencies for the cost of prosecuting Luster and returning him to the country after he fled in the middle of his trial.

The District Attorney's Office will get about $65,500; the Sheriff's Department, $89,000; and the Probation Department, $9,400, including $500 for the electronic ankle bracelet that Luster broke off when fleeing from his Mussel Shoals home.

No money will be disbursed until October, when Brodie will rule how much Luster owes to his victims.

The great-grandson of the cosmetics magnate fled during his trial on charges that he drugged and raped three women and videotaped the attacks. He was convicted in absentia and sentenced to 124 years in prison.

After being apprehended by Chapman, Luster was deported to the United States. He is currently incarcerated at Wasco State Prison.

Grace Lee, (805) 662-6757

grace.lee(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

Duane ``Dog'' Chapman listens to a judge ruling that the bounty hunter has no claim on bail money forfeited by fugitive rapist Andrew Luster, whom he captured in Mexico.

Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Aug 6, 2003
Words:375
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