Washington, DC: The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI is asking the State of Nevada and the Department of Justice to take all necessary actions to ensure that justice is served for the 1990 murder of FBI Special Agent John L. Bailey. Today, the Society called on Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt in this regard.
On June 25, 1990, Agent Bailey, an exceptional investigator, respected colleague, former U.S. Marine, loving husband, and father of two, became the 29th FBI Agent to die in the line of duty. His heroic service and sacrifice to our Nation must never be forgotten. In 1991, Echavarria was found guilty in Nevada of the first-degree murder of Agent Bailey, as well as burglary, attempted robbery, escape, and conspiracy. He was sentenced to death. Recently, United States District Court Judge Miranda Du granted a motion for habeas corpus relief by Echavarria for a new trial based on the claim that his constitutional rights were denied because of the original trial judge’s potential bias. Judge Du ordered the State to retry Echavarria or release him from custody. In response, the Nevada State Attorney General’s Office filed an appeal to overturn Judge Du’s order, and her decision is stayed pending appellate review.
Almost twenty-five years later, the circumstances of Agent Bailey’s murder remain well-known to tens of thousands of current and former employees of the FBI. On that fateful morning, Echavarria, disguised as a woman, attempted to rob the Security Pacific Bank of Las Vegas. He had previously cased the bank and determined no guards were present. After entering the bank, he pointed a gun at a teller who unexpectedly screamed. At that very moment, Agent Bailey entered the bank to serve a subpoena. Alerted by the teller’s scream, Agent Bailey acted heroically to confront, restrain, and disarm the fleeing gunman. He frisked Echavarria and removed a wallet from his pocket and then fatefully, he turned to tell a bank employee to call the FBI. During those few seconds, Echavarria knocked Agent Bailey to the ground, retrieved his gun, and shot him three times at point blank range. Echavarria, identified by the wallet left behind, fled to Mexico where he was arrested the next day. He was later extradited to the U.S.
The Society supports the legal efforts to overturn Judge Du’s decision, along with any other action that is required. Granting freedom to Agent Bailey’s murderer would be an incomprehensible travesty of justice, and his release would resonate throughout the entire law enforcement community. Society President Ellen Glasser said, “To this day, John’s widow, his children, and his countless friends and associates continue to mourn the tragic passing of a talented, intelligent, energetic, and patriotic FBI agent. The man responsible for this heinous, senseless crime must pay the price for his actions. John’s killer must never become a free man. We will never forget John’s service and his sacrifice.”
The Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is a professional and fraternal organization of over 8,000 members who served with honor as Special Agents of the FBI. The Society was founded 77 years ago and is the largest association created specifically for former Federal Law Enforcement Officials.