By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
So Cobra picked up a copy of his bond paperwork from the local bondsman and set off to talk to Snodgrass. He called the insurance company that had issued Snodgrass' bond and requested permission to revoke the bond and arrest Snodgrass if he saw fit.
Cobra claims now that C.E. Parrish, owner of the insurance agency, gave him the go-ahead. He set off for Snodgrass' house and took along Harris, the independent filmmaker.
Cobra pulled his Tahoe into the driveway of a low-slung house with a sandy yard and a tarp extending the carport. He honked and briefly turned on his siren. A tall, shirtless guy with a gray beard came outside and waved his arms. It wasn't Snodgrass. "Daniel, I need to talk to Daniel," Cobra said through a loudspeaker from the safety of his truck.
Cobra lumbered out in full bail-agent gear, gun holstered to his leg, to talk to the shirtless guy, who pointed angrily at the camera and asked Cobra to leave. When Snodgrass still didn't appear, Cobra picked up his iPhone and called 911. "I was coming here to revoke the bond on Mr. Snodgrass, and I'm being obstructed by somebody else inside Mr. Snodgrass' house," he told the dispatcher.
Minutes later, Cobra spotted Snodgrass. He was scrawny and also shirtless, with a gray mustache and a few missing front teeth. Harris' video camera rolled as Cobra charged up the driveway, grabbed Snodgrass, and corralled his arms behind his back.
"Argh!" yelled Snodgrass, writhing to escape Cobra's grip.
Cobra stuck out an enormous boot and tripped Snodgrass, who face-planted into the ground.
"Lay down. Lay down. Lay down!" growled Cobra, struggling to strap on the handcuffs as Snodgrass lifted his head to protest.
"What are you arresting me for?" Snodgrass demanded.
"You don't know who you're fuckin' with," Cobra responded. Then he yanked Snodgrass to his feet and headed toward his truck.
But in a rare twist, Snodgrass, it seemed, had done his research on Cobra. "You don't even work for the insurance company no more," Snodgrass blathered as Cobra tried to shove him into the Tahoe. "I didn't do nothing wrong. You're not even supposed to be on this case.
"And I'm being framed," Snodgrass told Harris' cameras. Then he shouted to the other shirtless guy: "Marty, call my lawyer!"
As Cobra drove toward the Putnam County Jail, he started to worry. Parrish called back and told him to release the prisoner. Cobra handed the phone to Snodgrass. On the video, Parrish could be heard saying something about a "misunderstanding" and "You're fine; you're OK." They hung up, and Cobra let Snodgrass go.
The next day, Snodgrass filed a complaint of false imprisonment against Cobra with the sheriff's office. He gave his theory about why Cobra arrested him. "The only reason they did this, Cobra and the two cameramen, [was] just so they could get a story. And I wouldn't give them one, so they kidnap [sic] me to get one," Snodgrass wrote.
Cobra vigorously denies that he was seeking publicity.
Snodgrass' bondswoman, Dale Ingraham, told sheriff's deputies that Cobra "had no authority to revoke his bond."
Parrish did not respond to repeated requests for comment. But Roger Capener, his partner at the agency, is adamant that Cobra acted without proper authority. "He asked me if I would give him permission to pick up Mr. Snodgrass, and I said absolutely not," Capener says. "In no way, shape, or form was he to go out and arrest this guy on anybody's behalf."
So why does he think Cobra did it? "Because he's a nut, if you want to know the truth. He's a loose cannon."
It took two months for the Putman Sheriff's Office to complete its investigation of Cobra. On May 21, sheriff's Detective Ken Taylor called to inform Cobra that there was a warrant out for his arrest. Cobra drove all night from Fort Lauderdale to turn himself in at the Putnam jail the next day. He hated being locked up with the common criminals, the people he'd spent decades arresting. "I've never been put in jail before," he blustered. "I'm a bondsman. I'm an officer of the court."
Cobra pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. In the meantime, he's sidelined, sentenced to a special kind of purgatory. His Discovery pilot is tentatively slated to film in September, Widom says, but there's no guarantee it will lead to a full-blown show. And each day, Cobra's unpaid bills mount.
He's picked up a few private-eye jobs that keep him running the Tahoe all over town — stopping at Las Olas to figure out who stole thousands of dollars from a clothing store, doing surveillance on a man's house that's being burglarized, looking into the Miami Beach police shooting. But none of this pays much. He spends his weekends at the Swap Shop, selling everything from his cowboy boots to his construction tools.
One morning, he shows up at the Broward County Bail Bonds office with an enormous three-ring binder labeled "O.J.'s trash file." There, carefully preserved in plastic sleeves, are Simpson's bond papers, a white plastic surgical glove, the fingernails, the pubic hair. "I think it's sellable," Cobra announces.