Janis McCollom,

Janis McCollom,

A weeklong electronic journal.
June 2 1998 3:30 AM

Janis McCollom,

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       A lot of phone work today. My day won't end until around midnight. Since I didn't work yesterday, I'd like to share a case from last week with you.
       A 46-year-old male who was accused of Assault Bodily Injury failed to appear in court May 22. I received the file the same day. I was informed by the bondsman that the co-surety was willing to cooperate in order to save $4,500-plus in court costs.
       The co-surety, a 42-year-old white female who had been dating the defendant for nine months, was also his victim. Her boyfriend broke into her home, assaulted her, and ran from the police. That was her version. Why only Assault Bodily Injury was filed is beyond me. Breaking and Entering and Evading Arrest could or should have gone with this charge, provided the information is correct. Apparently the man was given a break because it was a domestic affair, and law enforcement never knows if the victim will actually go through with pressing the charges.
       The defendant has served federal time for some kind of narcotics offense. In Harris County alone he has a prior assault and two Driving While Intoxicated/Driving Under the Influence of Drugs convictions. This time around, he had left Texas and was in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., at his mother's. I had the co-surety buy him a one-way bus ticket to Houston. On May 26 he picked the ticket up at approximately 3 p.m.
       On the same day, the defendant calls the co-surety collect at 7:30 p.m. He's in Irvington, Texas, supposedly on his way to Houston. Co-surety is scared. At approximately 9:30 p.m. she gets another collect call from the defendant. He's in Kennar or Kennard, La., on the outskirts of New Orleans. I now know he's flying. He gives her the number of the motel where he's staying. He knows or believes he can't be touched out of state on a misdemeanor. He's half correct--it takes a lot, but you can now be extradited on misdemeanors, though it's uncommon and hard to get done.
       On May 27, I receive another call from the co-surety. The defendant claims he's taking a train to Houston. I ask the co-surety if he has money. Supposedly he doesn't, but it turns out his mother had given him $2,000, which again verifies he's flying. The co-surety says she has spoken with the clerk at the motel. Defendant took the airport shuttle at 8:30 a.m.
       I call the motel and verify the information is true. I then call William P. Hobby Airport to get information on the next two flights into Houston. I contact Hobby airport police, which is Houston's finest--the Houston Police Department. I speak with a lieutenant who takes the warrant information and personal information on the defendant. He must confirm the truth of what I'm telling him. I explain that I feel sure the defendant will be on one of the next two flights. I am correct. He arrives at Hobby at 10:40 a.m., and I receive a call five minutes later that my guy is in custody. I thank the officers and tell them to have a safe day.
       It has taken several conversations with the co-surety and the cooperation of the Houston Police Department and Hobby airport for me to be successful.
       The defendant called the co-surety after all this happened, crying, asking how she could do this to him. She didn't. She just assisted with the information, which allowed me to get ahead of the defendant. I told her the only reason he was crying was because he was in custody.
       Why victims will help get the abusive person out on bail is also beyond me. In this case, the co-surety claims she was threatened by one of his friends.
       The defendant was convicted and received 90 days in the Harris county jail. He will serve maybe roughly 45 days of this sentence.

Janis McCollom is a private criminal investigator based in Houston. She locates criminal defendants who have jumped bail. This is her 16th year in practice.