DES MOINES, Iowa -- A Des Moines woman says she was terrorized and her brother jailed because of what she calls "overly aggressive" bounty hunters.
Billie Haygood says the bounty hunters wrongly targeted the apartment she shared with her brother, looking for a woman who skipped out on a $2,000 bond.
It all started last month when bounty hunters with Eblen Bail Bonds, run out of a used car lot on Southeast 14th Street, went to the the siblings' apartment. Cade told the bounty hunters he didn't know the suspect and allowed them to search his apartment. They didn't find the suspect, but came back around midnight. "I hear them knocking on the door they're like boom boom boom." Haygood said, "(They said) it's the fugitive unit. We're gonna break down the door. Open the door."
Haygood says she thought the bounty hunters were cops. She said they wore badges and identified themselves as members of the fugitive task force. She says her brother told them to leave but they came back again, banging on the door. "So Markus gets a bat and goes to open the door for them again. There's four of them at the door," Haygood recalled, "Two run out the back and two run out the front. Markus says 'I'm gonna go out and secure the security door and make sure that it's locked so they can't keep getting in.' So me and him go out the door walking down the hallway and as soon as he goes through the door to go to the stairs there's two guys hiding behind the door that jump out. He starts fighting with them."
Haygood says her brother hit one of the guys with the bat, and the others pulled out guns. "As he's dragging me to get in the house the guys with the guns pointed at our face are backing up, going back out the back door, out the laundry door. As soon as we get in our house and we close the door, boom, we hear a gunshot. Marcus says 'call the police they just shot at us,'" Haygood said.
The bounty hunter who fired the shot wouldn't go on camera, but says Cade attacked him with the bat so he fired in self defense.
So at this point it's kind of a he said she said. That is until you talk with the neighbor who lives right across the hall. Tanarra Gray says she was approached by the bounty hunters earlier in the day and offered $500 if she would lie and say the suspect was in Cade's apartment. "If we can say that we've seen her or have seen her we can give him a call and he'll meet us with the five hundred dollars and no one has to know," Gray said. Dennis Eblen, the owner of Eblen Bail Bonds says he doesn't believe any of his guys would bribe someone into lying, although he does say they might offer money for information.
Cade is in Polk County Jail charged with willful injury. His sister says he had every right to defend himself. "My brother's been unjustly arrested for this," she said, "I'm trying to figure out why is he arrested when he's just trying to protect us in our home?"