Randy Quaid, wife seek refugee status in Canada
Oct. 22, 2010 8:21 PM ET (AP)
Actor Randy Quaid and his wife told Canada's immigration board Friday they are seeking refuge in Canada because they are being persecuted in the United States, after they were arrested on U.S. warrants related to vandalism charges.
The pair were arrested on Thursday afternoon in a shopping area of an affluent Vancouver neighborhood.
The Quaids are wanted in Santa Barbara, where they missed a court hearing Monday on felony vandalism charges.
Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Lee Carter said Friday that Quaid and his wife Evi's bail increased to $500,000 apiece.
Their attorney, Robert Sanger, said he hoped the situation could be resolved but declined comment citing the pending case.
Evi Quaid begged a Canadian immigration adjudicator not to force them to return, saying on Friday that eight friends, such as actors David Carradine and Heath Ledger, have been "murdered" under mysterious circumstances and she's worried something will happen to her husband next.
"We feel our lives are in danger," she said.
Evi Quaid said she's been told by a jail nurse that her blood pressure is dangerously high due to stress and that Randy Quaid's mother has been hospitalized in the U.S. as a result of the stress from their legal troubles.
Friday's hearing was a mandatory detention review and authorities have asked that they be kept in jail until their next hearing date Tuesday.
On Friday, the Quaids promised they would appear for their next hearing. Evi Quaid said she'd be willing to wear an ankle bracelet while staying at a posh Vancouver hotel.
Randy Quaid said they came to Canada because he was being given an award by a film critics group. He said the couple was considering moving to Vancouver where Randy planned to jump-start his career.
He said the pair believed the warrants were issued by mistake and had been withdrawn and the couple didn't travel north in an effort to skip out on them.
"I love Canada," Randy Quaid told the adjudicator.
"It's been a very welcoming nation to me. I would not do anything to besmirch my reputation."
They face no charges in Canada.
A U.S. judge issued arrest warrants Monday for the couple after they failed to show up at a California court hearing stemming from their arrests last month on suspicion of illegally squatting at a home.
Quaid and his wife face felony vandalism charges after more than $5,000 in damage was found in a guest house of a Montecito, California home they had previously owned.
The Quaids frequently missed court appearances in an earlier U.S. case involving charges they defrauded an innkeeper. That case was resolved in April with Evi Quaid pleading no contest to a misdemeanor. The charges against her husband were dropped.
Randy Quaid, 60, is best-known for supporting roles in films such as "Independence Day" and "National Lampoon's Vacation." He is the older brother of Dennis Quaid.