The unlicensed bail agent accused of the fatal shooting of a Palm Springs man appeared in court today at the Larson Justice Center in Indio. The preliminary hearing concluded with the case moving to trial.
Fabian Hector Herrera, 36, was arrested on April 23 for the shooting death of David Spann, 33. The shooting happened on the same day at about 2:30 a.m. in the 100 block of East Via Escuela. Authorities said Herrera fired the fatal shots after Spann, wielding a knife, lunged toward him and several police officers inside his home.
Herrera is a bounty recovery agent who was hired by a bail agency to apprehend Spann for violating his bail agreement. Spann was supposed to wear a GPS device, however, he disabled it.
The sheriff's department said there was no warrant out for Spann's arrest by a law enforcement agency even though he was wanted by a bail agency. Sheriff officials said Herrera was not a licensed bail agent and was not allowed to have weapons because of his criminal history of two previous felony convictions.
Herrera's defense attorney, Raj Maline, said his client thought he was allowed to work as a bounty hunter. Saying he was following orders from the bail agency when he went to arrest Spann.
"The theory by the prosecution is that this was a kidnapping. You can't be kidnapped if you consent to be taken away, which Mr. Spam did. So that's how it cannot be felony murder," said Maline. "If the theory is kidnapping, it can't be felony murder."
The deputy district attorney, Rob Hightower, said Herrera committed felony murder because he was not a fully licensed bail agent regardless of having taken bail agent courses. He said therefore his effort to arrest Spann was attempted kidnapping.
"This is not someone who simply believed that he could do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted," said Hightower. "He had taken some of these courses, these various courses that talked about this."
Also at the preliminary hearing a licensed bail agent testified, Jose Navarro of Jose Navarro Bail Bonds. Navarro said Herrera told him he had the proper certifications to be a bail recovery agent. Navarro also said he did not do a background check on Herrera to see if he had a criminal history.
"When you act as a bill recovery agent, and you don't have all the four requirements, then it's a misdemeanor violation. And that's what he should have been charged with," said Maline. "To say that this is felony murder, with the theory that this was a kidnapping is absurd."
Navarro said his agency did not hire Herrera but connected Justice Bail Bonds with Alfa Legion Recovery, which is a bounty hunter service Herrera was a part of. However, Navarro said he didn't talk to Herrera about how bail arrests should be done according to the law.
"The only way in which a bounty hunter can apprehend someone who is delinquent under bail bond- if they are a felon- is if they are licensed," said Hightower.
Herrera is set for arraignment on October 4th at 8:30 a.m.