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Unlicensed bounty hunter awaits sentencing

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BATON ROUGE - A so-called bounty hunter will have to wait until next month to be sentenced for shooting a woman in 2011 in Baton Rouge.

The alleged bounty hunter, 35-year-old Demarcus McKnight, did not have a license and was set to be sentenced Wednesday in court. The judge decided to postpone the sentencing to August 12.

Four years ago McKnight and three others went to capture a fugitive on Ridgewood Drive when McKnight shot a woman through a window of the house. In April, McKnight plead guilty to aggravated battery, unauthorized entry and illegal use of a weapon.

Bail enforcement agents like around Baton Rouge like Eric Walker feel McKnight and other unlicensed bounty hunters give them a bad rap.

"So people watching episodes of 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' and these other TV shows think they can actually go out there and do it without having the proper certification and licensing, they're going to end up hurting somebody or killing someone," said Walker.

It is against the law to hunt fugitives without a license from the Louisiana Department of Insurance. The department monitors claims of unlicensed bounty hunters but has not changed regulations and requirements in the past five years. Walker feels the state should require more from people trying to get a license.

"If you want to be a 'bounty hunter' I think you should have some additional certification, maybe even post-certification, because most people are carrying weapons. A lot of them aren't skilled in the weapons they're carrying," he said.

Bounty hunters must complete an eight-hour course, a state exam and 90 days in an apprenticeship program to get a license.



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