Supporters rally for Bunty’s release

Print Article

SANDPOINT — More than 20 people showed up in court Friday to support a Cocolalla man implicated in an alleged double homicide in California.

Christion Leonard Bunty’s friends, family and coworkers were also prepared to post a $1 million bond to secure his release, but a Bonner County Magistrate Court judge declined to set bail due to the severity of the charges against him.

The hearing was to determine the status of gubernatorial warrants needed to extradite Bunty back to San Bernardino County, Calif., to face two counts of first-degree murder.

Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall advised the court that a governor’s warrant out of California was pending a review by that state’s office of attorney general.

Bunty, also known as Christian Bunty, is being held without bail because prosecutors in California are seeking a life sentence without parole.

Bunty’s counsel in the extradition proceedings, Larry Purviance, urged Judge Barbara Buchanan to release his client or set bail. Purviance emphasized that there is no evidence that Bunty is a flight risk and he was not in California when the criminal complaint was filed.

“There are several things about this case that are very troubling,” Purviance added.

Purviance said authorities in California have been unresponsive to defense requests for information in the criminal case, which hamstrings his ability to test the validity of the arrest warrant. An alleged accomplice in the killings, James Linzy Franklin, is already serving a lifelong prison term for an unrelated homicide.

Purviance said investigators told his client they doubted he carried out the murders.

“They confided to him that they didn’t think he did it,” said Purviance.

Purviance argued that the court had ample discretion to discharge or set bail, but Buchanan declined to release Bunty and said she is prohibited by statute from setting bond.

“Because of the severity of the crime, I don’t think I can set bond,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan ordered Bunty held for up to another 30 days and set a Feb. 5 status hearing on the extradition proceedings.

Bunty, 40, and Franklin, 41, are accused of luring two men to their deaths in 1995 by offering to sell them ephedrine, an ingredient used to cook methamphetamine. Mark Wayne Adamson and Joseph Gerald Riley were never seen again after leaving to meet with Bunty and Franklin.

The remains of the alleged murder victims have never been recovered.

Idaho State Police arrested Bunty on the California arrest warrant last month.

Bunty’s family and friends lambasted media coverage of the case after Friday’s hearing and contended he is the victim of a vendetta by corrupt investigators in California.

Bunty’s mother, Kathleen, said her son is incapable of murder.

“He doesn’t have that kind of heart,” she said.

Supporters said Bunty is a model husband, father and son who plows people’s driveways for free, donates to a number of charitable causes and is active in both the community and his church.

“He’s an honorable man,” said Bunty’s wife, Heather.

Print Article

Read More News

Putin visits France, hopes to mend strained ties with West

AP

May 29, 2017 at 5:27 am | VERSAILLES, France (AP) — On a trip likely to shape Russia-France ties for years to come, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in France on Monday for talks with newly-elected French President Em...

Comments

Read More

How Rising Seas Drowned the Flood Insurance Program

AP

May 29, 2017 at 5:10 am | By Gilbert M. Gaul, Yale Environment 360 Long Beach Island is the largest and richest barrier island in New Jersey, an oasis of sprawling oceanfront retreats and second homes l...

Comments

Read More

Merkel spokesman: Germany still seeking stronger US ties

AP

May 29, 2017 at 5:00 am | BERLIN (AP) — Berlin remains committed to strong trans-Atlantic relations, but Chancellor Angela Merkel's suggestion after meetings with President Donald Trump that Europe can no longer entirely rely...

Comments

Read More

6-day war begets 50 years of conflict for Israel

AP

May 29, 2017 at 5:00 am | JERUSALEM (AP) — It may well be remembered as a pyrrhic victory for Israel: in six days it stunned the world by vanquishing several Arab armies, only to be saddled with a deeply corrosive 50-year fig...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 263-9534
PO Box 159
Sandpoint, ID 83864

©2017 Bonner County Daily Bee Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X