Midstate musician shot to death by bounty hunter - WSMV News 4

Midstate musician shot to death by bounty hunter

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Randy Howard Randy Howard

A deadly incident is once again focusing attention on what rights bounty hunters should have.

Randy Howard, a well-known musician, was shot to death by a bounty hunter inside his home. The bounty hunter claims he fired in self-defense.

Howard performed with the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Charlie Daniels. But neighbors said he was more than just a talented musician.

"He was a giving person," Terry Dotson said. "He would do anything for you. If you asked for the shirt off his back, he'd give it to you. He was a good guy."

But Howard was also in trouble with the law. He faced charges in Marion County for fourth offense DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a gun while intoxicated and driving on a revoked license.

"One morning I went over there to take him to court and he wasn't ready," Dotson said. "He said, 'Well, I'll call them in a couple hours.' And that's when I got mad at him. I said, 'Look, we're supposed to be there at 9 o'clock.'"

Apparently Howard never went. Tuesday night, a bounty hunter showed up with a warrant.

Investigators said Howard began firing shots first and the bounty hunter returned fire. Both men were hit and Howard died inside his long-time Lynchburg home.

"I don't believe they had the right to come in his house, no," Dotson said.

Earlier this year, the Channel 4 I-Team found several cases of bounty hunters overstepping their bounds.

While many states require bondsman to have licenses, Tennessee does not.

In Howard's case, the bounty hunter did have a warrant. But investigators said Howard was inside his home where he did have a right to defend himself.

The TBI is now investigating.

"He said he wasn't going back to jail. That's what he told me," Dotson said.

The bounty hunter has not been identified. He was hit by one of the bullets and is expected to recover from his injuries.

Channel 4 reached out to the bounty hunter's company, A-Plus Bond out of Dunlap, TN. They had no comment.

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