Death of Jake Nettrouer remains under investigation
The bail bondsman accused of shooting a Cambridge man February says he acted in self-defense, while the man’s family continues to seek answers about what happened that night.
Edward Runyan, owner of Fast Eddy’s Bail Bonds of Wichita, was at the Jake Nettrouer residence on Feb. 23 for a bond revocation.
Nettrouer had been arrested in November 2019 on charges including theft, drug distribution and possession, and criminal possession of a firearm. This case was closed Feb. 26 due to Nettrouer’s death.
Runyan recently told the CourierTraveler that he can’t comment a lot on what happened the night of the shooting, except that something happened between him and Nettrouer that caused him to fear for his life.
Cowley County Attorney Larry Schwartz said Friday that no charges have been filed and he is still reviewing the case, and it may still take awhile before he reaches a decision.
Runyan said it was definitely not a situation where he could have been mistaken for an intruder, as Runyan was at Nettrouer’s home for 40 to 50 minutes before sheriff’s deputies he’d requested for standby showed up, and Nettrouer knew the bondsman was there.
“All I can say is, it was in self-defense,” Runyan said.
Runyan said that people released from jail on bond must follow bond conditions, similar to rules that must be followed while on probation. A bond revocation, the reason for Runyon’s visit to Nettrouer the night of the shooting, occurs when the bondsman determines the defendant needs to go back to jail for some reason. This could be because the defendant violated bond conditions, or some other reason, Runyon said. In Nettrouer’s case, the bond was revoked because the co-signer withdrew her name, meaning Nettrouer either had to find a new co-signer or go to jail.
Runyan said he told told Nettrouer he needed to secure another co-signer, but Nettrouer failed to do so. Nettrouer finally scheduled a meeting with Runyan, but then failed to show up. At that point, Runyan said, he began searching for Nettrouer, intending to take him back to jail; however had his client come through with a new co-signer, Runyan would have allowed him to remain free.
Runyan said he also told the woman who wanted off the bond that Nettrouer needed a new co-signer.
Runyan said he didn’t know Nettrouer well, beyond their initial meeting when he bonded his client out of jail. His impression of Nettrouer was that he was a good, hardworking person, and when he met the co-signer, thought things were OK. Runyan said his impression changed after the co-signer texted him photographs of injuries to herself that she claimed were caused by Nettrouer, the reason why she no longer wanted to be the bond co-signer, Runyan said.
Since Nettrouer’s death, the Cowley County Sheriff’s Office discontinued performing standbys for bond revocations, Sheriff David Falletti has said. Standbys were not done very often by the department to begin with, and were only done on request.
A press release issued immediately after the shooting stated that one deputy was present outside the residence, and another was on their way to do a civil stand-by for a bondsman. The officers were not there to make an arrest, the release added, and when deputies heard gunfire they immediately entered the residence, found the victim and attempted life-saving measures.
A preliminary autopsy lists the cause of death as a single gunshot wound.
Luke Nettrouer, Jake Nettrouer’s brother, told the CourierTraveler on Friday that he blames the sheriff’s office for his brother’s death, and that he has tried to help the sheriff’s office over the years when it came to his brother.
He accused the sheriff’s office of lying to his family and being slow to release information.
“My brother wasn’t just killed during a routine bond revoke. There’s way more to it then that,” he said.
What he does know, he said, is that his brother was killed in his home, alone at night, three people against one.
“This is just the opinion of someone who should be missing his brother because he’s in prison or jail, not because he was killed,” Luke Nettrouer said. “They can say whatever they want to make that not true, but that’s the truth.”
Falletti was not immediately available for comment late Friday when the CT sought a response to Luke Nettrouer’s accusations.