FARMINGTON — A Missouri prosecutor said he expects that Bobby Willis, accused of bilking local investors out of millions of dollars, could be extradited to San Juan County as early as next week.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Tony Brown said that Willis has nearly exhausted all motions available to him to challenge his extradition from Taney County, where he is being held on a $1 million cash-only bond.
"A governor's warrant was issued and it was served to him earlier this week," Brown said. "I believe that Mr. Willis can challenge habeas corpus, but I have never seen that."
Habeas corpus is a writ ordering a person in custody to be brought before a court where prosecutors must justify a person's detention.
Willis, 49, was arrested March 22 in Branson, Mo. on a warrant after failing to make a court appearance. He has been charged in San Juan County with multiple counts of embezzlement, fraud, securities fraud and racketeering.
Willis' Attorney Dee Wampler filed a motion to dismiss the case in late May, arguing that it did not appear that a governor's warrant would be issued. Wampler and co-counsel Joe Allen have also filed motions challenging Willis' bond and the transportation methods used by law enforcement to return Willis to New Mexico.
Brown called the flurry of motions "highly unusual."
"Most people waive extradition," Brown said.
Wampler did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Allen withdrew from the case on June 12. According to a motion, Allen withdrew "due to matters beyond the client's control that have caused the client to fail to 'substantially fulfill an obligation' to counsel..."
Beth Utley, public information officer for the San Juan County Sheriffs Department, said that the extradition will be handled by the department's civil division. The department has not yet received word that Willis can be extradited.
San Juan County Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said that the sheriff's department will have 10 to 15 days to transport Willis back to San Juan County once the extradition process begins. Unless Willis' attorneys waive the right, a new court hearing will take place within 10 days of his return to San Juan County.
Asked about the decision by Willis to challenge extradition, O'Brien said: "A lot about this case has been unusual."