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Randy Quaid and wife seek asylum from 'star whackers'
Published Friday, October 22, 2010 6:19PM PDT
The Hollywood actor best known for his role as deadbeat cousin Eddie in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and his wife will be released from custody on $10,000 bail each after asking for refugee protection in Canada during an immigration hearing on Friday.
Oscar-nominee Randy Quaid, 60, and his wife Evi, 47, made the verbal plea for protection at a Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board hearing in Vancouver on Friday afternoon.
The couple, arrested in Vancouver on immigration violations earlier this week, claims they fear for their lives in the U.S. After a detention review hearing, they were told they would be released after putting up bail and agreeing to weekly reporting.
Outside the hearing, the Quaids' lawyer read a statement saying the couple was seeking asylum from "Hollywood star-whackers."
The couple said that they fear for their lives in the U.S., and Evi claimed that nine close friends of her husband have recently been murdered, including actors David Carradine, Heath Ledger and Chris Penn. Carradine was found hanging by a rope in a hotel room in Thailand last year, Ledger died of an overdose of a mix of prescription medications in 2008 and Penn died of heart disease in 2006.
The Canadian government had argued for the pair to stay in jail because they are unlikely to appear at future hearings, but the couple asked for their release for health reasons. Evi claims she has high blood pressure and is on the verge of a stroke.
A judge in Santa Barbara issued $50,000 bench warrants for the couple earlier this week after skipping an arraignment hearing in their felony burglary case.
Vancouver police said officers assisted the Canada Border Services Agency in an arrest of a couple in an affluent neighbourhood on the city's west side on Thursday afternoon. The VPD would not confirm Quaid's name, saying their identities are protected.
A spokesperson for the department said officers determined the man and woman were wanted on outstanding warrants from the U.S. during an identification check.
CBSA officers came in to make the arrests. The pair was held in Vancouver jail before being turned over to the border agents Friday morning. The CBSA has not publically commented on the case.
The agency has several grounds for keeping people in Canadian custody if they are wanted on a warrant in the U.S., including if they are a risk of skipping their immigration hearing.
The pair, who was charged with felony burglary in Sept., is accused of squatting in the guest house of a Montecito home they once owned together in the 1990s. California authorities said at the time the couple caused more than $10,000 damage to the home, including smashing a $7,000 mirror. Evi was also charged with resisting arrest.
Celebrity bounty hunter Duane 'Dog' Chapman issued a public challenge to Quaid and his wife Thursday night, urging him to turn himself into U.S. authorities or face capture by the TV tough guy.
"At least do it for your wife and for how you were raised. If not, the Chapman family is coming after you," the bounty hunter told comedian George Lopez on his late night show, Lopez Tonight.
Chapman also said he'd like to have an intervention with Quaid, saying his life appears to have spiraled out of control.
Trouble with the law
This isn't the couple's first brush with the law.
The Quaids frequently missed court appearances in an earlier case involving charges that they defrauded an innkeeper of more than $10,000 after using an invalid credit card at a Montecito ranch.
That case wrapped up in April after Evi Quaid pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count. The charges against her husband were dropped.
Randy Quaid is known for his roles in films such as The Last Detail, Independence Day, Kingpin and Brokeback Mountain. He won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson in LBJ: The Early Years.
He is the older brother of actor Dennis Quaid.