Fugitive leaves bail bondsman in lurch

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

It’s been a roller-coaster week for bail bondsman James Lindblad.

On Tuesday, a Circuit Court judge ordered forfeiture of $100,000 bail posted by Lindblad for convicted sex offender Frank Lefrandt Jr.

The order came after Lefrandt failed to turn himself in to prison authorities last Friday. His whereabouts are unknown.

“It’s a terrible thing for his (Lefrandt’s) family,” Lindblad said. “First the criminal charges, now this. He’s married, with five children. They put up their house as collateral for the bond.”

Lindblad, owner of A-1 Bail Bonds, said he’s enlisted Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman to find Lefrandt.

“We work together sometimes,” Lindblad said. “He’s on the Mainland now, looking for Frank.”

Good news came Wednesday night on another case that has gnawed at Lindblad for more than a decade. U.S. Marshals announced they had captured fugitive Hawai’i sex offender Michael Andrew Stephens in Mexico.

Lindblad forfeited $42,000 bail posted for Stephens in 1995 when he fled the state while awaiting retrial on charges of kidnaping and sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

“I’ve written more than 20,000 bonds in my career here, and this is the only guy that ever got away,” Lindblad said. “I always knew he was in Mexico. I almost caught him there once, but he slipped away.”

Lindblad said he also partnered with Chapman in trying to track down Stephens.

“We found out in 1996 that he was traveling between Palm Springs and Mexico,” he said.

“We got an an address for him in Mexico and notified the authorities, but when they got there, he had slipped away.”

Marshals and Mexico customs officials located Stephens this month after he was profiled earlier this year on the “America’s Most Wanted” television show.

He was helping run a restaurant called Casa Bahia in Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, Mexico.

Stephens was known in the area as “Will,” according to messages posted on a Zihuatanejo Internet message board since Stephens was arrested.

Stephens is being deported by the Mexican government to Houston, where he will be held for extradition to Hawai’i.

He was convicted here in 1990 of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy. Prosecutors sought a 20-year prison sentence in that case, calling Stephens a danger to society.

Stephens had been investigated earlier for alleged sex assaults of teenage boys, and five days before he was arrested in the 1990 case, police charged him with assaulting another teenager at the Hawai’i Kai boat ramp, according to court records.

Charges in that case were dropped after Stephens was convicted in the 1990 case.

Friends and business associates of Stephens wrote letters of recommendation on his behalf to the court in the 1990 case, and he was sentenced to five years of probation. He was re-indicted on new charges of sexually assaulting a teenage victim in 1993.

Jurors could not agree on a verdict on the assault charges, convicting Stephen only of promoting liquor to a minor.

After staging a fake disappearance at sea, Stephens fled the state while awaiting retrial on the 1993 sex assault charges.

Credit. Honoluluadvertiser.com

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