Bailed out and gunned down

It just isn’t safe to skip bail anymore, the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION reports. Ten months after Georgia passed a law reining in overzealous bounty hunters, a North Carolina bail recovery agent entered the state while tracking a 22-year-old man who’d violated his probation on charges of eluding police and driving with a revoked license.

The bounty hunter, 38-year-old Edward Tatum, found his prey in a DeKalb County apartment complex. The fugitive jumped in his car. The bounty hunter shot. The car crashed. The man died. The price on his head — er, the posted bond — was $2,500. Tatum is now facing murder charges.

As private citizens permitted to make arrests, bounty hunters enjoy a certain freedom of action since defendants forfeit some rights when they sign a bondsman’s agreement. According to an accompanying Journal-Constitution feature, one bounty hunter might buy his captive a six pack for the ride to jail; another might toss him in the trunk for the long haul back.