Bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman says he was "completely astonished" when a California judge ruled that he won't receive one penny of the $1 million bail forfeited by the cosmetics heir he captured in Mexico in June.
"I can't believe he did it. He's a judge. He's put in that place," Chapman said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "The only good thing I can think of is if he would have congratulated me on a job well done it could have opened up a floodgate of vigilantes."
The judge, Edward Brodie of Ventura County Superior Court, ruled Chapman was not entitled to any share of the money because he was acting on his own and not as a legally authorized bail recovery agent when he snatched Andrew Luster off a street in Puerto Vallarta on June 18.
In his ruling Tuesday, Brodie said Chapman failed to comply with the law and that he could not "condone vigilante justice."
The law requires that bounty hunters have a formal agreement with the bail bond agent or law enforcement, have a clean criminal record and follow local laws when they search for felons. Bounty hunting is considered a crime in Mexico.
Chapman said on Good Morning America he had thought he was acting legally, and had a Mexican police officer on his team.
Hunter Says He Might Have Shared Award
Luster had been convicted in absentia of drugging and raping three women. The judge ruled that the victims could lay claim to a portion of the $1 million bail money, but noted that the law caps victim restitution in criminal cases to a total of only $10,000.
Chapman had said he wanted $350,000 of the bail money in return for bringing Luster in, and says he believed the judge was prepared to give it to him.
"A month ago he said, 'You're the only one that worked on this, Dog, you're the one that captured him. Bring your receipts.' So we bring our receipts and we come 30 days later and he had a complete change of mind," Chapman said. "I'm very disappointed in the judge calling me what he did."
The bounty hunter said, however, he was glad that some of the money was going to the victims, and that he would have donated some of his share had he been awarded it.
"We absolutely, absolutely, would have probably given it to the victims if they would have walked out empty-handed," Chapman said. "As one of the victims told me, 'Dog, you don't know what it's like to be raped.'"
The judge awarded more than $150,000 of the bail money to Ventura County government agencies for the costs they incurred trying to find Luster, the great-grandson of cosmetics legend Max Factor, after he fled trial in January.
Luster’s Bizarre Life & Capture
Prosecutors said Luster took three women to his home in 1996, 1997 and 2000 and raped them after drugging them with liquid Ecstasy and gamma hydroxybutyrate, also known as GHB or the date-rape drug.
Chapman said he believed Luster was on Ecstasy the night be captured him on the street in Puerto Vallarta. "He was out of it. He was like in a fairy world," Chapman said.
Chapman, his son and his brother were forced to spend a few days in a Mexican jail after they captured Luster. They were charged by Mexican authorities with illegally capturing the fugitive.
Chapman says he won't appeal Brodie's decision on the bail money. He says he plans to sell a documentary on the chase and capture of Luster soon.