FBI Service Martyr John Bailey

FBI Service Martyr John L. Bailey (1942 - 1990)

On June 25, 1990, Special Agent John L. Bailey was fatally wounded during an attempted robbery of a Las Vegas, Nevada, bank. Special Agent Bailey, who was serving a subpoena in the bank, heard a teller scream. The teller told Special Agent Bailey that the man who had just left her window had a gun and attempted to rob her. Special Agent Bailey drew his weapon, identified himself as an FBI agent, and ordered the bank robber to stop. As the man turned with a gun in his hand, Special Agent Bailey fired one shot, which struck the front glass door. The robber dropped his gun. Special Agent Bailey frisked the robber and placed him on a chair. However, Special Agent Bailey's attention was apparently diverted and the bank robber lunged at Special Agent Bailey, knocking the agent's gun out of his hand. The bank robber recovered his own weapon and shot Special Agent Bailey three times. Special Agent Bailey was born in November 1942 in Massachusetts. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and served with the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, during which he was decorated with two Bronze stars. In 1969, he entered on duty with the FBI and was eventually assigned to several field offices, including Louisville, New York, and Las Vegas.


Update - 06/7/2019:

On May 20, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a certiorari petition filed by the State of Nevada. The petition sought reconsideration of the ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordering a new trial for Jose Echavarria who previously was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of SA John Bailey in Las Vegas, NV.

The 9th Circuit ruling was based upon a claim that the original presiding judge was biased.  At the time the petition was filed, the Nevada AG’s office advised in the event the Supreme Court denied the petition, the State was committed to a retrial of Echavarria. However, since that time, a new Attorney General has taken office.

The Society’s Information Committee has reached out to the Nevada AG to determine that office’s intended course of action, but has not yet received a response.  Society membership will be apprised of future developments in this matter. 



Update - 04/15/2019:

As previously reported, U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du ordered agent Bailey’s murderer, Jose Echavarria released from prison and retried based upon Echavarria’s assertion that the original trial judge was biased. Although the Nevada State Supreme Court previously denied the same motion after finding absolutely no evidence of bias, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Du’s ruling on July 25, 2018.

The Nevada Attorney General strongly disagreed with Judge Du’s ruling, but rather than waste time with further appeals to the 9th Circuit, the AG filed a Motion to stay judge Du’s ruling pending the submission of a Petition For Writ of Cetiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

The well-crafted Writ filed in December 2018, cited precedents which unanimously agree bias must be demonstrated, rather than merely presumed as was argued in Echavarria’s appeal.

Subsequently, Echavarria’s court-appointed attorney, claiming he was too busy with other matters to respond to the AG’s petition, obtained three continuances. His response was finally received on April 12, 2019.

The Nevada AG remains confident the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually grant its petition and reverse the 9th Circuit ruling.

Meanwhile, Echavarria continues to be incarcerated at Nevada’s maximum-security Ely State Prison.



The Information Committee will continue to follow this matter and report significant events to the Society membership.

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