As reported by The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California, “the California Department of Insurance is seeking to revoke the licenses of two bail agents who hired [a] bounty hunter who shot a Palm Springs man dead in his home [in 2021].”[1] Fabian Hector Herrera was the bounty hunter that was hired by bail agent, Jose Navarro to apprehend David Spann. Unfortunately, Herrera “is a convicted felon, not a licensed bail agent, and prohibited from working as [a bounty hunter or bail agent].”[2] According to proceedings of the Department, Navarro did not know that Herrera had a criminal record.[3] “Navarro himself has a felony criminal record but was granted a bail agent license by the Department of Insurance in 2013.[4]

The two people subject to the Department’s proceedings are Melissa Lippert, who “owns and operates Justice Bail Bonds [without a state license to do so]” and Jose Navarro, operates Navarro Bail Bonds in San Bernardino, California.[5]

As a result of the violence that occurred on April 22, 2021, at Spann’s Palm Springs, California apartment, “Herrera…who forced entry to David Spann’s apartment with a sledgehammer, is facing charges of murder, perjury, possessing a firearm, body armor and ammunition as a felon. Herrera has twice been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.” Herrera’s mother, “who was also armed and acting as a [Bail Fugitive Recovery Person] BFRP,” entered the apartment with Herrera.[6]

According to the news account, when Herrera “and his mother entered Spann’s home, no court was demanding that Spann be returned to jail. Spann was on bail facing misdemeanor charges of violating a restraining order and had no active warrants. But Lippert’s bail agency said Spann had deactivated a tracking device he was required to wear under his contract with her company.”[7]

According to findings by the California Insurance Commissioner,

Just before midnight on April 22, 2021, Herrera, dressed in tactical gear, wearing a badge, and armed with a handgun, went [to Spann’s apartment with his mother], who was also armed and acting as a BFRP. Herrera knocked down the front door of [Spann’s] apartment with a sledge hamer and entered, which resulted in a standoff between [Spann], Herrera, and the responding officers of the Palm Springs Police Department (PSPD). At some point, [Spann] armed himself with a knife and Herrera shot him, possibly at the direction of a PSPD officer who believed that Herrera was a law enforcement officer.  [Spann] died from the shooting and Herrera was arrested for murder by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department (RSD). At a later date, [Herrera’s mother] was also arrested.[8]

[1] Christopher Damien, State targets bail agents tied to death; Bounty hunter they hired killed Palm Springs man, The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California), Feb. 13, 2022 (“Damien”).

[2] In the Matter of the Licenses and Licensing Rights of Melissa Lippert, Cal. Ins. Comm., No. IE202100231 (December 16, 2021) (“Lippert”).

[3] In the Matter of the Licenses and Licensing Rights of Jose Navarro, Cal. Ins. Comm., No. IE202100231, Dec. 16, 2021.

[4] Id., Damien.

[5] Id., Lippert.

[6] Id., Damien.

[7] Id., Damien.

[8] Id., Lippert.