ST. ALBANS, Vt. (AP) — Released from Vermont custody, actor Randy Quaid and his wife said Thursday they will now turn their attention to resolving 5-year-old criminal charges in California that they squatted in a home they once owned and vandalized the property.
A Vermont judge dismissed fugitive-from-justice charges against the couple and released them, citing discrepancies in some dates and saying she couldn’t find probable cause to support the accusations.
The Quaids are wanted in Santa Barbara, California, on felony charges filed in 2010 after they were found living in a guesthouse of a home they previously owned. Court papers said the Quaids damaged or destroyed furniture, a fireplace and a mirror. The couple fled to Canada and were arrested in Vermont last Friday while trying to re-enter the U.S.
After they left the courthouse Thursday, the Quaids said they’ll stay in Lincoln, Vermont, to care for Evi Quaid’s ailing father and address the California charges. She grew up in Vermont.
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“I never worried about being found guilty or any of that for any of these charges because I know the truth, and I know the facts are going to come out at some point, and today was a good sign of that,” Randy Quaid said.
“And we’re still going to have to deal with the California situation,” the Quaids’ lawyer, Peter Langrock, said. “And we plan to, not as a fugitive from justice but the standpoint of a citizen.”
In a statement Thursday, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office said it will seek a governor’s warrant to mandate the Quaids’ return to California, a process that can take months.
Outside court, Randy Quaid spoke about his stay in jail. He told reporters he was on a wing with three other men, and they all got along and played a lot of cribbage and Sudoku.
“The food wasn’t so bad,” he said.
The Quaids said they were pleased to be in Vermont, and he joked about possibly becoming a firefighter.
“I knew the people of Vermont, the judge and this lawyer would understand our situation,” said Evi Quaid.
In court, Langrock argued for the couple’s release saying that Evi Quaid was threatened by a fellow inmate, who put feces in her cell.
Judge Alison Arms reduced bail for the couple from $500,000 each to $50,000 on a fugitive-from-justice charge that the Quaids failed to appear in court in California. She said she didn’t find probable cause to support fugitive-from-justice charges related to the California vandalism and squatting counts.
But after reviewing her decision during a short break, the judge called the Quaids back into court and said she had to release them. She said she could not find probable cause to support any of the charges because of a discrepancy in dates in paperwork from California.