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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

MS-Seven Bondsmen Charged with Kidnapping, Robbery

Mississippi-A bizarre bail bond story is developing in Picayune, MS. The story began back in December 2008, when a bail bond agent and a convicted felon were arrested for allegedly committing armed robbery while returning a defendant to jail. According to an article in The Picayune Item, licensed agent Elisha Bourgeois, and an unlicensed convicted felon, Kenneth Maynard, robbed bail bond client Mark Harris of $50 at gunpoint after apprehending him for a warrant. The company owner, Anita Carol Pearson, said that a receipt was given for the money and the money was seized as bounty hunting fees. Investigator Donnie Saucier disagreed saying, “Any time money or goods are taken from a person by force and against their will, it’s robbery, if people want to leave receipts for their robberies, then that fine with us.”

After the story ran in The Picayune Item, four other alleged victims came forward and reported similar stories of being kidnapped, at times with the use of a weapon, handcuffed and robbed of money and belongings. In January, a search warrant was obtained and Pearson’s bail bond company, A-1 Outlaw Bonding.

In February, Pearson, six of her agents, and Kenneth Maynard were arrested. Anita Carol Pearson was charged with accessory before the fact kidnapping, felony conspiracy to commit extortion, felony extortion, conspiracy to commit grand robbery, accessory before the fact armed robbery, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, misdemeanor extortion and accessory before the fact felony extortion. Bondsman Sean Bourgeois was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery. Bondsman Edward Johnson Jr. was charged with kidnapping, misdemeanor extortion and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Bondsman Mack Pearson was charged with misdemeanor extortion and kidnapping. Bondsman Kevin Spiers was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and kidnapping. Bondsman Kevin Pearson was charged with felony extortion, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Bondsman Elisha Bourgeois was charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. The unlicensed felon, Kenneth D. Maynard, was charged with kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, and also arrested in December for armed robbery stemming from the same investigation.

According to the most recent article in The Picayune Item, company owner Anita Carol Pearson was additionally charged last week with conspiracy to intimidate a state witness after allegedly attempting to pay an inmate to cause physical harm to another inmate, Mark Harris, who was the initial witness in the case against her. Chief Investigator Saucier said the investigation into the most recent charges against Pearson began when he was contacted by a confidential source inside the jail who told him that Pearson had asked the source to cause Harris “bodily harm.” Two recorded phone calls involved conversations between the informant and Pearson concerning causing bodily harm to the witness in exchange for money, Saucier said. Later, investigators sent in another informant wearing a wire to talk to Pearson. Allegedly, Pearson asked the informant if she was wired or if she worked for the Sheriff’s Department. According to Saucier, after the informant indicated she was not wired nor worked for the Sheriff’s Department, $100 was given to the informant in exchange for “bodily harm” to be done to Harris.

Now this is where things get really bizarre. According to the report in The Picayune Item, Pearson was taken before Justice Court Judge Nell Y. Cowart for her initial appearance. Judge Cowart reportedly became irritated that Pearson was in shackles and asked three different law enforcement officers to remove the shackles saying, “Carol is not a criminal. She’s not going to stay here another night, that’s all I got to say.” When the officers refused to remove the shackles, Judge Cowart asked Pearson if she minded that the shackles remain on as the proceedings took place. Allegedly, just before Judge Cowart went to swear in Investigator Saucier as a witness, she told him she knew he was going to tell her a lie, and then proceeded to swear him in. According to the article, Saucier did not respond to the comment by Judge Cowart and proceeded with his testimony. Judge Cowart set Pearson’s bond at $5,000. After Pearson was escorted out of the courtroom, Judge Cowart apologized to the chief deputy and Saucier for “bucking the system."

When I read the news report, I was so stunned by the judge's bias and partiality toward a litigant and disrespect toward a witness, I decided to look up Judge Cowart’s history. She was re-elected to her present position in 2007 in an unopposed election. In 2006, Judge Cowart was issued a public reprimand, suspended for 30 days, and fined by the Mississippi Supreme Court for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct for Mississippi Judges. The court held that Judge Cowart committed misconduct by having ex parte communications with parties to a criminal case and ticket fixing.


  1. I'm new to the business, just getting started. I've found that people outside the industry seem to have a lot of preconceived notions about the caliber of person that gets involved in this business. Quite honestly, very few of those notions are anything to be proud of even despite the fact that they're based on misconception and misinformation. I sincerely hope that those on the outside looking in realize that it's a very small number of agents that get involved in the crap like I just read about, and that the vast majority of us are honest, law abiding and hard working business men trying to make a living.

    Bail bondsmen provide a service that's as much a part of due process as those services provided by an attorney or any other legal professional. We help keep the system running smoothly by insuring that defendents appear in court, as opposed to the system being bottlenecked by cases that don't move because people fail to appear.

    It's a tough job and a tough business to be in, especially these days. But it's an important job, and it pains me to read about the few (the very few) irresponsible cretons who pull stunts like those in Mississippi, and make the rest of us look like criminals.

    Hats off to those of us who do it right and keep it straight.

  2. I hope my comment will generate a great deal of responses. I know personally one of the defendants in this case and their charges are completely wrong. First of all, the local newspaper is giving the public only one side of the case which it’s getting from the sheriff’s department. Who would you think the local newspaper would make the hero? The sheriff/deputies! But research all the civil right violations pending cases against some of the officers as well as the sheriff’s department and then decided if they acted too hastily! Also, ask the investigators if any of the people that made some of these allegations were offered deals in lieu of the testimony? Some of these convicting felons were facing and are facing serious time. Also, ask if any of the alleged victims recanting any of the information on their affidavits once it was proved wrong and did the sheriff’s department pursue finding justice? No! Also ask how many times? Why do you think the bondsmen wrote a receipt? There is so much to this case that the DA that was handling it has recues himself of trying it due to conflict of interest (he will be named as a witness) and now it’s been turned over to the attorney general. Why I cannot speak for all the defendants, I can speak for one and I know is scared of death due to all this case has turned into and the fact that it is being handled by the local good ole boy law enforcement which appears to have a hidden agenda due to the line of question they were asked in their interrogation and actions taken. I also know that the FBI out of Jackson MS has been contacted due to some of the conduct that occurred by some of the local officials. This sheriff’s department does not have a good accountability record. I have some credible information that some of the allegations were cohearsed by the sheriff’s department and some of the victims were intimidated by the deputies while incarcerated to make the allegations against some of the bonding agents. Just like the last comment made, based on what info you have read from local sources, you predetermine the bondsmen were wrong and were giving the rest a bad name. Not the case with one of the defendants. Could you imagine IF THIS was happening to you and not all the facts were being stated and you were a rookie bondsmen less then year facing these types of charges in a town you grew up in your whole life and in a town were you have never even had as so much as a speedy ticket, in a town where you have a great relationship with over half of local law enforcement? Could you imagine being used in a case to get to someone else but yet you did not have the information they were seeking against someone else or even understand what the law enforcement wanted? Any input with be helpful to me, because the person I know directly involved in this I know is innocent. I believe in my heart it will be proved soon. But until then their life has been turned upside down, reputation ruined and worst yet it’s still not over! Please watch this case closely, there is something much bigger going on!


Although Missouri Bondsman encourages debate on topics of interest to the bail industry, please be aware that comments are moderated. Please observe the posting rules. No comments will be printed that contain spam, profanity, or libelous comments. Please post comments in a civil, professional manner.