Duane Lee Chapman
February 2, 1953
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
|Other names||Dog the Bounty Hunter|
|Height||5 ft 7 in (170 cm)|
|Television||Dog the Bounty Hunter,|
Dog and Beth: On the Hunt,
Dog's Most Wanted
|Children||12, including Leland and Lyssa|
In 1976, Chapman was convicted of first degree murder, and sentenced to five years in a Texas prison. He had been waiting in a getaway car while his friend shot and killed Jerry Oliver, 69, in a struggle during a deal to buy cannabis. Chapman served 18 months at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.
Chapman came to international notice as a bounty hunter for his successful capture of Max Factor heir Andrew Luster in Mexico in 2003 and, the following year, was given his own series, Dog the Bounty Hunter (2004–2012), on A&E. After Dog the Bounty Hunter ended, Chapman appeared in Dog and Beth: On the Hunt (2013–2015), a similarly formatted TV show, alongside his wife and business partner, the late Beth Chapman, on CMT. His series Dog's Most Wanted, debuted on WGN America in late 2019.
Chapman was born February 2, 1953, in Denver, Colorado, the child of Wesley Duane Chapman (1930–2000), a welder (during Dog's childhood) later turned bail bondsman (after Dog started) with Aaron Bail Bonds, who served aboard the USS Irwin during the Korean War, and Barbara Darlene Chapman (née Cowell; 1934–1994), an Assemblies of God minister (more specifically, a Sunday school teacher). He has three siblings: Jolene Kaye Martinez (née Chapman; 1955–2016), Michael Chapman, and Paula Hammond (née Chapman). He is of German and English descent on his father's side, and of English and Chiricahua descent on his mother's side.
At the age of 15, Chapman joined the Devils Diciples, an outlaw motorcycle club, and ran away from home. In 1976, Chapman was convicted of first degree murder, and sentenced to five years in a Texas prison. He had been waiting in a getaway car while his friend shot and killed Jerry Oliver, 69, in a struggle during a deal to buy cannabis.
Chapman served 18 months at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. While he was in prison, his first wife LaFonda divorced him and married his best friend. During his incarceration, he did field work and acted as the warden's barber. In a 2007 interview for Fox News, Chapman claimed that while serving his sentence, he tackled an inmate about to be shot for attempting to escape, and a congratulatory remark by a corrections officer inspired him to become a bounty hunter later. Chapman was paroled in January 1979.
On June 18, 2003, Chapman made international news by capturing Max Factor cosmetics heir, Andrew Luster, who had fled the United States in the middle of his trial on charges of drugging and raping a number of women. Luster had been convicted in absentia on 86 counts, including multiple rape charges connected to assaults in 1996, 1997, and 2000. Chapman was assisted by his hunt team, which consisted of his son, Leland, and an associate, Tim Chapman (the latter having no relation). The three bounty hunters captured Luster in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they had been living under assumed names. On their way to bring Luster to the San Diego jail, they were pulled over by Mexican police, and all four of them were jailed. Dog and Leland were arrested under suspicion of drug use. Once the authorities confirmed Luster's identity, he was sent to California to face his 125-year sentence.
Chapman and his team, still in the Mexican jail, were initially denied bail, but after his wife Beth alerted the media and aroused public opinion in the United States, they were granted bail. Once out of jail on bail, they followed their attorney's advice and fled 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. Mexican authorities had charged all three with "deprivation of liberty," involving the 2003 arrest of Andrew Luster, because bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico. Since they did not obtain permission to leave the country while out on bail in 2003, the Mexican Government declared the three Chapmans 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."
The next day, September 15, 2006, Chapman appeared in a packed Honolulu courtroom with his ankles shackled. 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. The three men were released on bail ($300,000 for Duane Chapman, $100,000 each for Leland Chapman and Tim Chapman). Chapman's lead attorney, Brook Hart, reportedly planned to argue that although the charge Chapman faced is a misdemeanor in Mexico, when translated into English, the charge of kidnapping became a felony under American law. Mexican authorities dismissed Hart's claim and insisted that Chapman had, in fact, been charged with a felony. An extradition hearing was set for November 16, 2006.
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. Duane, Leland, and Tim had their ankle bracelets removed so they could work. 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. 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. 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 until Tuesday, February 6, 2007, but the deadline was extended.
On February 16, 2007, a Mexican federal court ruled that there was no reason not to try Chapman on the charge of deprivation of liberty in Mexico. 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". The resolution was passed by the International Affairs committee on March 7.
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 accuracy. 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. 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 canceled all pending charges. The prosecution appealed the ruling; this is standard practice in Mexico, according to A&E. 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 crimes.
Chapman, after decades of bounty hunting, was featured on Take This Job, a program about people with unusual occupations. This led him and the show's production company to do a spin-off about his work in capturing bail fugitives, in particular Chapman's efforts in hunting down Andrew Luster in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. After Luster's jailing, Chapman was interviewed for the August 28, 2003, episode of the truTV television series Dominick Dunne's Power, Privilege, and Justice. By now Chapman's profile had come to the attention of the American public. It was during this time A&E decided to create an ongoing reality series around his bounty hunting job. On August 30, 2004, the first series of Dog the Bounty Hunter made its television debut, running for eight seasons before being canceled in 2012. The theme song was performed by Ozzy Osbourne.
On September 25, 2012, CMT announced it had ordered a new reality series which would begin airing in April 2013. The new series, titled Dog and Beth: On the Hunt, featured Chapman, his wife Beth, and Chapman's son Leland visiting failing bail bond agencies across the country, giving them advice on how to turn their businesses around, and assisting in the capture of their most wanted fugitives.
The show's pilot episode featured Chapman and his son Leland working together for the first time since Leland left the previous show in 2012. The show ran for three seasons, airing until its cancellation in 2016.
His second book, Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given was published in 2010, also co-authored with Morton.
In early October 2007, Chapman gained negative public attention after a private phone conversation between him and his son, Tucker, was leaked to the media. The conversation was about the relationship his son was having with a black woman. During the recording, Chapman can be heard saying "I don't care if she's a Mexican, a whore or whatever. It's not because she's black, it's because we use the word nigger sometimes here. I'm not gonna take a chance ever in life of losing everything I've worked for 30 years because some fucking nigger heard us say nigger and turned us in to the Enquirer magazine. Our career is over! I'm not taking that chance at all! Never in life! Never! Never! If Lyssa [Dog's daughter] was dating a nigger, we would all say 'fuck you!' And you know that. If Lyssa brought a black guy home ya da da... it's not that they're black, it's none of that. It's that we use the word nigger. We don't mean you fucking scum nigger without a soul. We don't mean that shit. But America would think we mean that. And we're not taking a chance on losing everything we got over a racial slur because our son goes with a girl like that. I can't do that Tucker. You can't expect Gary, Bonnie, Cecily, all them young kids to [garbled] because 'I'm in love for 7 months' - fuck that! So, I'll help you get another job but you can not work here unless you break up with her and she's out of your life. I can't handle that shit. I got 'em in the parking lot trying to record us. I got that girl saying she's gonna wear a recorder…". Once the tape was made public, A&E announced it was suspending production of Chapman's TV series pending an investigation. On October 31, 2007, Chapman issued a public apology, but on November 2, 2007, A&E announced it was nonetheless removing the show from their schedule "for the foreseeable future."
On December 21, 2007, Roy Innis, the chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality and a member of the National Rifle Association's governing board, and one of the first to petition the A&E network to have the show taken off the air, met with Alicia Colon of the New York Sun and Chapman. Later Innis said, "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. 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."
On February 19, 2008, A&E announced that Chapman's TV show would return to production.
Chapman's first marriage was to La Fonda Sue Darnell (née Honeycutt; born 1953), by whom he has two children, Duane Lee Chapman, II (born January 21, 1973) and Leland Blane Chapman (born December 14, 1976). The two wed in Pampa, Texas, on April 1, 1972, and remained married until October 27, 1977; La Fonda filed for divorce from Chapman after he was convicted of first-degree murder, and was granted custody of Duane Lee and Leland. Chapman was granted custody of the boys after the two began to become involved in crime and they were placed in foster care. Both sons would go on to work with Chapman at Da'Kine Bail Bonds in Honolulu, Hawaii, and appear on TV alongside their father.
His second marriage was to Ann Tegnell, by whom he has three children, Zebadiah Chapman (January 1, 1980 – January 31, 1980), Wesley Chapman (born November 14, 1980), and James Robert Chapman (born March 2, 1982). The two wed on August 22, 1979, in Colorado, shortly after Chapman was paroled after having served two years of a five-year sentence at the Texas State Penitentiary for first degree murder, and divorced sometime after the birth of Wesley. The two reconciled briefly, resulting in the birth of their son James. Ann was subsequently granted custody of both their children, and moved to Utah. Wesley was ultimately raised by his maternal grandmother, and both sons were kept from being able to communicate with Chapman; the two of them reunited with Chapman as adults.
His third marriage was to Lyssa Rae "Big Lyssa" Brittain (née Greene). The marriage was reportedly performed by a Native American chief in the Colorado mountains in 1982, and ended on November 20, 1991. The two had met just days prior in a bar, while Lyssa was still married to her husband, an Assemblies of God minister, though the two had since separated due to his infidelity. According to Chapman, he offered Lyssa $1,000 to have his child, to which she agreed. They had three children together, Barbara Katie Chapman (June 8, 1982 – May 19, 2006), Tucker Dee Chapman (September 8, 1983), and Lyssa Rae Chapman (June 10, 1987). The family lived in Denver, Colorado, in a home left to Chapman by his grandfather Mike, along with Duane Lee and Leland. According to Chapman's daughter Lyssa, she and her siblings reportedly endured a hard childhood, with incidents of sexual abuse and substance abuse plaguing the family.
His fourth marriage was to Tawny Marie Chapman. The two met in 1988, after Chapman arrested her on a drug possession charge, and she subsequently became his secretary. The two married in 1992, separated in 1994, and officially divorced in 2002. The two had no children together, though Chapman's children did refer to her as their mother during the two's relationship. In his autobiography, You Can Run But You Can't Hide, Chapman referred to the marriage as "a disaster from the start," alleging she was addicted to amphetamines.
His fifth marriage was to Alice Elizabeth "Beth" Barmore (née Smith; October 29, 1967 - June 26, 2019), with whom he had an on-again-off-again relationship, until the two married on May 20, 2006, at a Hilton hotel in Waikoloa Village, Hawaii. They had two children together, Bonnie Joanne Chapman (born December 16, 1998) and Garry Chapman (February 7, 2001), and Chapman adopted Beth's daughter from her previous marriage, Cecily Barmore-Chapman (née Barmore; born June 19, 1993). Chapman was also able to help Beth locate and reconcile with her son, Dominic Davis (born 1985), who was born to her when she was a teenager and subsequently placed for adoption. Dog and Beth operated Da'Kine Bail Bonds together. Beth died on June 26, 2019, at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, as a result of throat cancer. A lifelong cigarette smoker, she had been diagnosed with the disease in 2017. The family appeared in an A&E series titled Dog and Beth: Fight of Their Lives, to chronicle the experience.
On August 23, 2021, TMZ reported that Chapman was engaged to Francie Frane. The two reportedly met six months after Beth's passing, and like Chapman, Frane had been recently widowed, having lost her husband, Robert "Bob" Frane in December 2018. They announced their engagement in May 2020 and married in Colorado on September 2, 2021.
Chapman has one child out of wedlock, his eldest child Christopher Michael Hecht (born 1972), who was born to his ex-girlfriend, Debbie White, while he was serving an 18-month prison sentence. Debbie kept her pregnancy from Chapman and committed suicide in 1978, leading the boy to be adopted by Keith and Gloria Hecht. Hecht has reportedly struggled with drug and alcohol addiction since at least 1991, and has a lengthy criminal history, including a history of hate crimes.
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