Witness Describes Bounty Hunter Shooting

This story comes from the Idaho Falls Post Register

Post Register

    Witnesses say they heard six shots fired.

What started out as six bail bondsmen acting as bounty hunters trying to locate Philip Miles Clay turned deadly Sunday as at least one of the bail bondsmen opened fire in the parking lot of an Ammon apartment complex, killing Clay.
The Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository lists Clay as having lived in both Idaho Falls and Rigby. The case originated in Ada County, but the prosecutor conflicted it out to Canyon County.

According to the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, four bail bondsmen from Boise came to retrieve Clay, 58, who had a felony warrant for a charge of controlled substance with the intent to deliver out of Ada County. The warrant was issued Sept. 18 with a bond of $100,000. The Boise bounty hunters teamed with two local bail bondsmen to search for Clay.

According to a Sheriff’s Office news release, deputies responded to the 3500 block of Greenfield Drive at 12:27 p.m. after reports of a shooting. No law enforcement officers were there at the time of the shooting.

Misty Brown’s door was about 20 feet from the crime scene. She said she keeps her windows open and often hears noises from around the complex. However, she said she heard no voices leading up to the sound of gunshots.

Brown said several rounds were found around the crime scene, including one that hit the door frame on her neighbor’s apartment.

“When we heard a series of shots, six shots, my husband grabbed his pistol, came out the door, pointed it at one of the people,” Brown said. “They did not have their badges displayed. We honestly thought it was a gang shooting.”

Brown said after her husband, Kenneth Brown, had his pistol drawn on the bondsmen, they pulled out badges and identified themselves as bail recovery agents.

Brown said she pulled back the blinds from her window and saw a body lying between two cars in the parking lot about 30 feet from her door. One of the bail bondsmen was crouched over the body with a knee on Clay’s head, she said.

Brown said her husband called 911.

Clay was armed, the release said. Brown said she saw a gun lying on the ground about 20 feet away from Clay’s body after he was shot. There was no discussion regarding whether or not Clay threatened anyone with a weapon of merely displayed it.

Brown said one of the bounty hunters, a woman, jumped a fence to leave the parking lot, before coming back and putting her hands on her head and saying “oh my god, oh my god.”

“They acted like they had no clue what was going on,” Brown said.

Clay was transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center where he died within 15 minutes of arrival, according to Sgt. Jeff Edwards, Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Ian Everett, also a resident in the apartment complex, said he’d just gotten out of the shower when he heard six shots fire and his dad told him to get down on the ground.

Brown said law enforcement arrived and handcuffed a female and two males. They took custody of the bail bondsmen’s firearms before putting the bondmen in the back of a squad car, she said.

Idaho law regarding bondsmen deals almost exclusively with finances and notifications regarding exoneration and forfeiture of bond. There is nothing about bounty hunters, but the code does say bondsmen who hire bounty hunters are responsible for their acts.

According to the Ada County Court Clerk’s office, a company titled American Contractors Indemnity from Los Angeles posted the bond. A spokesperson from American Contractors said the company works around the country and it’s possible they were doing business in Idaho. He said he hadn’t heard about the incident in Ammon, and refused to comment further.

The GUARDIAN confirmed the company is licensed by the Idaho Dept. of Insurance.

Edwards said no suspects have been arrested in the case, but it is under investigation. Edwards said after the investigation is complete, the case will be turned over to the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s office to decide on what charges, if any, will be filed.

“It’s not a premeditated murder by any means,” Edwards said. “It’s not like someone planned to go there and meet him and shoot him.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Well this story does not paint a very positive picture of how the Bounty hunters conducted themselves. The laws are quite lax on regulating bounty hunter actions. The one question that comes to my mind is: If there was a felony warrant for his arrest, why did not the Bounty hunters just advise the local sheriff of his location and let the trained officers serve the warrant?

    EDITOR NOTE–As always, “follow the money.” If coppers scoop him up I don’t think bond is exonerated. The bond insurance folks stood to lose $100,000. Now they stand to lose a lots more perhaps?

  2. Grumpy ole Guy
    Mar 18, 2015, 10:08 pm

    Carrying a weapon and looking for someone they claim is a fugitive – and that is NOT premeditated?

    Anyone wanna buy interest in any of the famous bridges I own shares of?

    Grumpy AND dismayed.

  3. If your job is to go after scumbags like this guy, you are going in armed, no question about it. If the perp pulls a gun you are going to fire at him until he is no longer a threat, and be fully within your rights as a U.S. citizen.
    In my opinion, the problem here lies in the fact that our system stinks of corruption, starting with the top cop in the land, the U.S. Attouney General, who isn’t doing his job, all the way down to cops who are caught on video kicking the life out of suspects that are lying defenseless on the ground and get off Scott free. Our system is becoming more corrupt by the day, and our citizens are becoming ever more cynical.
    Time to get rid of all sitting politicians and judges, follow the U.S. Constitution, and put the criminal bankers in a dungeon.

  4. A couple brief thoughts:

    1) The lady who heard the gunshots thought it was probably gang-related. Is there a lot of gang activity in Ammon, Idaho (pop 14,000-odd)? Scary thought!

    2) I feel very relieved that no innocent bystanders were harmed during this debacle! (Frankly, it’s difficult to muster much sympathy for Mr. Clay – he should’ve known the risk he was subjecting himself to by skipping bail.)

  5. A Memo from Bikeboy

    Attention everyone: The risk you run from skipping bail is: death.

    You have been warned.

    This the follow-up memo to The Risk You Run from Selling Illegal Cigarettes is: Death.

    And the final memo in the trilogy of The Risk You Run of Calling the Cops is: Death.

    Don’t Miss the next series of memos this summer- The Risk You Run in Riding Your Bike in Boise is: Death With No Sympathy.

  6. Grumpy oleGuy
    Mar 19, 2015, 10:34 pm

    Did the bounty hunters have ID on Clay before they opened fire? If I were challenged by a group of folks in a parking lot in a hostile manner, I doubt I’d ask them if they were there for a cup of coffee. And, Clay was charged, not convicted, so he got the death penalty without a trial by peers, and therefore his Constitutionally guaranteed rights were most grievously violated. That is the miscarriage of justice, and the fact that, that is NOT the focus of concern does not bode well for our Country’s future.

  7. Easterner….your last comment is unrelated and uncalled for.

  8. Very disturbing especially the image of the female bounty hunter jumping a fence …to do what? Escape and leave her fellow bounty hunters to explain. I hope none of these are former cops. The implication is not good. Apparently one too many episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter. I have to agree with the above comment: if a group of individuals approached me with guns and strange outfits, haircuts and questionable badges, i would be hesitant to listen to them as well. As for the strange series of death comments above: not sure what that was all about but interference to bike riding. I have never seen a town so biker friendly in the entire USA. Bike lanes everywhere. The problem is the city engineers have to work with outdated 2 lane country roads that have been paved over, a lack of planning by the city fathers and a gridlocked system because of skyrocketing growth. Add to this a group of bike riders that believe riding a bike is lifestyle, civil right and have anger issues and you have a recipe for disaster. No matter how you cut it, a two two CAR will win over a 150 lb man nd a 20 lb bike every time…no matter how confrontation and demanding a bike rider may be. Off topic I know but i wish I had a video camera for every wild bike rider I have encountered on the streets of this town.

  9. Well Clancy, it is related when people have little sympathy for other people killed when the victim does not deserve the outcome and there is no due process.

    It’s a slippery slope when people don’t have sympathy & empathy for such injustice.

    Too many people want to justifiy the crime by saying “they deserved it”. Easy to do until one applies that to the fact it might happen to them too- on or off a bicycle.

  10. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 20, 2015, 11:05 am

    J. Smith:

    It is the cops job to go after scumbags, not bounty hunters (aka “bondsmen/women”). Just another thing about our system of justice that needs to be changed.

  11. I can give Easterner an analogy.

    If I’m riding my bicycle legally, visibly, and defensively, I should have a relatively high expectation that I’ll arrive safely and without incident at my destination.

    If, on the other hand, I’m riding my bicycle down the wrong side of the road, at night with no lights, no hands on the handlebars because I’m eating a sammich on one side and looking at my “smart phone” on the other side, I can have a relatively high expectation that things might go wrong… and possibly tragically wrong.

    I’ve never skipped bail (I try to be one of the Good Guys) but if I did, and somebody stood to lose $10k based on my choice, I’d have the expectation that they might come looking for me, and things might go wrong for me. And yeah, it’s a shame that my right to a fair trial has gone off the tracks, but I have to own at least part of that.

  12. Well if the Idaho repository is accurate, it will be interesting to see if the shooter, Christopher Dwayne Schulthies (as reported by KTVB Channel 7), has a lawful concealed weapons license. He has a long record for Misdemeanor arrests including drug charges, Injury to child, Carrying a weapon w/o a license, battery, and on and on.

  13. Just a few thoughts, although I am not familiar with all of the bond/bail issues here, by any means:

    Many seem to be very eager to convict the deceased, and readily conclude that he is a bad guy and deserves what he got.

    Please keep in mind that Canyon County, where this case originated, has, at best, a very “spotty” record with regard to charging, warrants, arrests, wrongful prosecutions, wrongful imprisonments, prosecutor misconduct, police misconduct, and so forth.

    Do any of you perhaps recall the Sarah Pearce case? If not, Google it and educate yourselves on misconduct by prosecutors, misconduct by investigators, railroading by the criminal justice system and court systems, and a host of other unsavory topics.

    Further, ask yourselves this: Are any of the perps who railroaded Sarah Pearce in danger of being prosecuted? It appears not.

    Would anyone care to comment?

    EDITOR NOTE–For clarification. The case originated in Ada county and the Ada prosecutor “conflicted” it out to Canyon.

  14. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 21, 2015, 11:20 am

    I don’t think that misdemeanors disqualify one from possessing a gun. That would be felonies, which also disqualify one from voting. Not sure how they affect a concealed carry license, but shouldn’t we assume these “bondsmen” (aka vigilantes, and paid ones, at that) would open carry anyways?

    And can’t we all just go to the joke store at the mall (you know, the store where they sell plastic dog poop, etc) and buy a badge of some kind?

    EDITOR NOTE–Rod, you prompted us to post a new item about badges. Thanks for the idea.

  15. “you are going to fire at him until he is no longer a threat”

    I love this line… it is cop speak for I will kill you…. even if you try to give up

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