Randy Quaid and wife are no-shows, again, in court

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) -November 2, 2010

Their failure to appear may leave the actor and his wife, Evi, worrying about more than just a mysterious syndicate they've dubbed "star-whackers" that they claim they're running from. Tuesday was their third missed court appearance in a case that's barely two weeks old, and the couple's attorney acknowledged that bounty hunters may soon be on their tail.

Attorney Robert Sanger said Randy Quaid needed to remain in Vancouver pending an immigration hearing next week, and his wife simply refused to leave him.

It wasn't a valid legal reason for Evi Quaid's absence, Sanger conceded, but he also said he was looking into whether the couple's stated fears may have some legitimacy.

The couple are accused of living in the guest house of a home they once owned. Sanger said he suspected forgery on the home's deed, but he needed more time to be sure.

"There may be a claim of right - as strange as that may seem - to the property in this case," Sanger said.

Ultimately, a judge agreed to allow Randy Quaid to appear on Nov. 16 without releasing a warrant for his arrest or forfeiting half-million dollar bail. Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Donna Geck did issue a warrant for Evi Quaid and forfeited her $500,000 bail, which had been intended to guarantee her appearance.

Wondering where the Quaids are, and when exactly they'll be showing up to court, has been a frequent question in the Santa Barbara courts since last year.

The couple were accused last year of defrauding an innkeeper of more than $10,000. The money was repaid, and the case was finally resolved in April, but not until after several missed court appearances, warrants and the couple ending up in handcuffs.

Their infrequent appearances have seemed more akin to the quirky characters Randy Quaid specialized in playing in films such as "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "Independence Day," than the roles that won him Oscar and Emmy nominations. Randy Quaid brought his Golden Globe Award to one hearing he attending, which he earned for a TV movie role in the late 1980s.

The actor was cleared in the innkeeper case, while his wife pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor and was placed on three years probation. The couple was ostensibly free, with no more court dates and no formal supervision.

Then in September, the alarm at a home the Quaids owned until the early 1990s went off. Deputies were called and arrested the couple on suspicion of illegally squatting in the guest home.

The damage they allegedly caused scared the home's current owners, who sought and were granted temporary restraining orders against the Quaids.

The couple had disabled the home's security system, removed cameras, blocked the front door with heavy pots and dismantled a children's wooden play structure to erect barriers in the foliage, according to a declaration filed by homeowner Lannette Turicchi.

Evi Quaid showed up days after her arrest at Turicchi's home near Los Angeles and threatened her, according to the restraining order file.

Since mid-October, the Quaids have been in Canada, Sanger said Tuesday. They were arrested days after missing their arraignment on the vandalism case in a posh Vancouver shopping area.

They immediately sought refugee status, and through an attorney, said they were afraid of "Hollywood star-whackers" who they say may have had a role in the deaths of stars such as David Carradine and Heath Ledger. Carradine was found hanging in a Bangkok hotel room, and Ledger died of accidental drug overdose in New York City.

Sanger didn't address their claims Tuesday in court, nor did he answer reporter's questions after the hearing.

He urged patience, both from Geck and prosecutor Anthony Harris.

There are no guarantees that Quaids will show up on Nov. 16, other than they risk losing more bail collateral and getting arrested again.

But if they do, there are two judges who would like to see them - the one who will handle their arraignment on the vandalism case, and another considering whether to issue a lengthy restraining order keeping them away from the Turicchi family and their homes.

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