GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Duane "Dog" Chapman and his wife, Beth, sat with the congregation at the Word of Life Christian Center last night.
‘Dog’ given standing ovation at church appearance
Last week it was the federal doghouse for bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman. Last night it was the house of God.
For the first time since his arrest by federal agents, the TV reality-show star made a public appearance at the Word of Life Christian Center on Queen Street, a church he regularly attends.
Chapman, his son and an associate were arrested by federal authorities Sept. 14 on an extradition warrant issued by Mexico, where the bounty-hunting team collared convicted rapist and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster. Bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico.
The three bounty hunters have been out on bail since last week.
During the church's 22nd anniversary celebration yesterday, the leather-clad Chapman thanked church members for supporting him.
"I thank everybody here, and I thank God. When I came into the parking lot, I felt very lightheaded, and that to me is the presence of the Lord," he said.
When introducing "Dog" to the congregation, the Rev. Art Sepulveda called him "the hero of the islands." Chapman received a standing ovation.
"Thank you very much for your support. We love you all, and thank you for loving us back," Chapman said.
Chapman and his family entered the center a little after 7 p.m., A&E TV film crews in tow. His reality show, "Dog the Bounty Hunter," appears on A&E.
Chapman declined interviews, and instead watched the Christian soul-funk music performances and spoke to the audience.
"I'm already half healed," said Chapman, referring to the performances.
In a telephone interview earlier yesterday, Chapman's attorney Brook Hart said an apology to the Mexican government may be in order. Other possible resolutions may include paying a fine, making charitable donations or forfeiting his bail posted in Mexico -- anything to avoid Chapman being extradited to Mexico.
If he is extradited, Chapman will consider other resolutions -- "anything short of conviction or imprisonment," Hart said. "The whole idea here is for Mr. Chapman to take responsibility for leaving."
Hart would not comment on whether he or Chapman had been in contact with Mexican authorities.
"Let me just say that many things are happening, and we're trying to deal with all of them effectively," Hart said.
Chapman's visit to the church surprised some in the congregation, including 42-year-old Ewa Beach resident Sonora Carter. Carter said she wished she had brought a camera.
"This whole thing is gonna bring his show to the top," Carter said.
Carter said Chapman shouldn't apologize for capturing Luster, who is serving a 124-year prison term for raping three women. But he should apologize for fleeing Mexico.
"An apology is needed to keep it right and just move forward," Carter said.
Chapman's alleged crime in Mexico doesn't compare with his heroism in bringing Luster back to the United States, said 23-year-old churchgoer Christine Wysinger.
"It's minuscule to what (Luster) did," Wysinger said. "Dog put away someone who hurt and abused women. I feel he's gonna be exonerated. He did what he had to do."
Chapman is released on a $300,000 bond and allowed to leave his home only for business or filming his reality show. His son Leland and associate Timothy Chapman (no relation) also were arrested in connection with the charges, and are out on $100,000 bond each.