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Alleged dispute over dogs leads to murder

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Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 2:43 pm

Within twelve hours of a fatal shooting, Grimes County Sheriffs Office arrested 57-year-old alleged murder suspect, James Allen Bundage of Plantersville, without incident, near the scene of the crime. An initial dispute over Bundage’s bulldog crossing the fence line onto his neighbor’s property left 55-year-old victim, Patrick David McHale Sr., dead, lying outside his own barn off CR 359 near Plantersville.

A probable cause statement reveals that McHale made the initial 911 call at 10:55 a.m., after Bundage allegedly threatened his wife Michele “by making a motion with his hand/finger (gun finger), pointing it towards her.”

The alleged threat was made after McHale warned Bundage to keep his bulldogs off of his property, as he was spreading rat poison around his barns. McHale told Deputy Mike Bewley, who arrived on scene at about 11:35 a.m., that Bundage screamed and cursed at McHale before making the threatening gesture towards his wife. McHale also warned that Bundage had a weapon and had been arrested several times before.

Since Bundage was nowhere to be found, Deputy Bewley advised McHale to immediately call 911 if Bundage returned.

A second 911 call was received at 12:21 p.m., and ended abruptly, as Dispatcher Randi Farquhar heard yelling and screaming in the background and the victim repeatedly said, “James, I’m trying to be nice to you,” just before a male – later identified by McHale’s 37-year-old daughter, Jessica Waldroup, as Bundage – told McHale, “I’m tired of the ****ing hating.”

After McHale repeatedly said, “Go home,” a shot was heard and the phone line went dead, according to the PC statement.

Deputy Bewley returned to the McHale residence eleven minutes after the call was made, and found McHale dead at the scene, lying on the ground near his dog kennels, outside his barn, with what appeared to be a possible gunshot wound to the head.

Once the buildings on the property and the suspect’s nearby home were cleared, a ground search for the suspect ensued with the help of outside agencies, including District Attorney’s Office Investigator Travis Higginbotham and Navasota Police Department Investigator Mike Mize; K-9 units and horses from the local prisons; Texas Rangers Chris Clark of Bryan and Jeff Wolf of Brenham; and Department of Public Safety troopers, along with a DPS helicopter. The U.S. Marshals were also contacted, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Bryan. St. Joseph EMS was also on scene.

Monday afternoon, Sheriff Don Sowell said the suspect - who has a history of assault and was previously arrested for deadly conduct with a weapon against a family member – was said to be possibly armed, as the weapon had not yet been located.

“We’re assuming he is armed and dangerous,” the sheriff said previously.

In the meantime, law enforcement worked on identifying and tracking cell phone numbers and attempting to pinpoint the geographical location of the suspect, but the alleged suspect never made any calls from a cell phone.

Sheriff Sowell said after a twelve-hour search – made in collaboration with other local law enforcement agencies after the murder suspect fled the scene in a 2010 black Toyota Corolla – Bundage was taken into custody at 12:05 a.m., as he attempted to walk back to his home, adjacent to the crime scene, where Capt. Blake Jarvis said he was caught off guard by deputies stationed at the crime scene, including Cpl. Theo Galvan, Swank Backhus, Blake Baldobino and Steve Syracusa; along with Department of Public Safety Troopers, Richard Cook and William Kettler.

Bundage was taken into custody without incident, carrying the alleged murder weapon, which is a rifle he owns.

“He was caught off guard, as we had guys posted there all evening, and deputies searched the area,” said Capt. Jarvis. “There was a lot of good teamwork between law enforcement that ended in a peaceful resolution to a sad situation.”

Sheriff Sowell added, “It’s an excellent example of cooperation between law enforcement. We kept the pressure on and due diligence through the night paid off.”

Capt. Jarvis said the getaway car was discovered “hidden from view on a dirt road, in a wooded area with tall grass.” Additional evidence is being collected from the vehicle, as well as the crime scene.

“He was arrested and we got a statement from him,” said Capt. Jarvis. “It started over the suspect’s dog crossing the fence line, but it (dispute)’s been ongoing for years.”

The two men had been neighbors for approximately eight years. McHale owned a hunting dog training facility located on his property and Bundage is a retired mechanic who previously worked for the City of Houston Police Department and Grimes County’s Road and Bridge Department.

Murder charge,

previous arrests and complaints

Bundage is being charged with murder, a first-degree felony, and remains in jail with a $250,000 bond set by Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Joe Imhoff.

Bundage has two previous arrests for deadly conduct, on Aug. 31, 2009, and Aug. 28, 2011. He bonded out the same day he was arrested for the Class A misdemeanors, with a $2,500 bond and $1,500 bond, respectively.

Though Sheriff Sowell was relieved when the alleged suspect was apprehended early Tuesday morning, he said this wasn’t the first time deputies were called to the residence because of a dispute between the two neighbors. But this time, neighbors and family members of the victim told deputies they heard a “pop,” and became concerned.

The PC statement, completed by Investigator Higginbotham, shows McHale began making complaints about Bundage allegedly shooting guns near his residence and making threats to shoot McHale’s dogs in 2004.

In August 2009, Clint McHale reported that Bundage was leaning against McHale’s fence pointing a gun at him.

In August 2011, McHale told deputies Bundage “cut his water hose and was on Bundage’s property walking around with a shotgun.” McHale also claimed Bundage threatened to shoot his family months before.

Victim remembered

The suspect’s family members, who live in Houston and previously met McHale, arrived in Grimes County at approximately 10 p.m., on Monday, as they offered full cooperation with investigators and extended their sympathy to the victim’s family.

Sheriff Sowell said, “This sad incident didn’t have to happen. Nothing justifies using deadly force over a verbal confrontation. And it’s a permanent loss to the family.”

Waldroup said it is also a loss to the community, as McHale “was well known in the community, as a professional dog trainer and person who always helped out local charities.”

McHale was a staunch supporter of the Plantersville-Stoneham Bunch, Poor Boys, Plantersville Volunteer Fire Department, and Grimes County Fair Association.

“If you knew dad, he was always in a cowboy hat and shorts because he was a dog trainer,” said his daughter, who also lived on the McHale property. “And he never had an enemy because everyone loved dad. He was a friend, father, mentor – someone you looked up to. It happened so suddenly, it’s killing us all.”

McHale also leaves behind a 33-year-old son, named David; and two grandchildren, ages eleven and seventeen.

Waldroup said her father would be remembered for his contagious laugh and witty sense of humor.

Plantersville resident Angel Garcia, who has known McHale for the last seven years, agreed, and said the victim would be greatly missed by the community, as he was known for making people smile.

“He was a very good man. He always had a smile on his face, was always laughing and joked with you,” said Garcia. “You could ask him anything about a dog, and he always had answers. No matter where he was - at church, the store or wherever - he would talk to you, joke with you and make you smile. A good man…so sad.”

McHale’s body has been sent to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office and preliminary autopsy results are expected to be returned sometime today.

A Pat McHale Memorial Fund has been set up to help the family with costs. In lieu of flowers, send donations to First National Bank of Anderson PO BOX 159 Anderson,TX 77830.

Funeral arrangements are pending at Lindley-Robertson-Holt Funeral Home in Navasota.


More details will be revealed as they become available on The Examiner Website at and on the Navasota Examiner Facebook page at

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • en36857 posted at 10:40 am on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    en36857 Posts: 3

    Below is a quote from the Examiner:

    A second 911 call was received at 12:21 p.m., and ended abruptly, as Dispatcher Randi Farquhar heard yelling and screaming in the background and the victim repeatedly said, “James, I’m trying to be nice to you,” just before a male – later identified by McHale’s 37-year-old daughter, Jessica Waldroup, as Bundage – told McHale, “I’m tired of the ****ing hating.”

    1. Was it the victim's son or daughter that was screaming?
    2. Was the son or daughter was present when the shooting took place?
    3. What did the son or daughter actually see if the dispatcher Randi Farquhar heard all the yelling and screaming in the background and. Is the son/daughter a witness to what happen? Is this a set up and the son/ daughter is actually not telling everything.
    4. Did McHale/son/daugther have a gun on Mr. Bundage and he was simply defending himself?

    After McHale repeatedly said, “Go home,” a shot was heard and the phone line went dead, according to the PC statement. Deputy Bewley returned to the McHale residence eleven minutes after the call was made, and found McHale dead at the scene, lying on the ground near his dog kennels, outside his barn, with what appeared to be a possible gunshot wound to the head.

    1. How did the phone go dead if he was on the phone when he was shot?
    2. Did he hang the phone up?
    3. Was the phone still in his hand?
    4. Where was the son/or daughte that the dispatcher heard in the background. If my father was just shot, I would have still be yelling and screaming.
    5. Why did the son/daughter not call 911 back?
    6. When the deputy returned where was the son/daugher if they were screaming in the background?
    7. Deputy just said he saw victim lying on the ground. Where had the family gone?
    9. Did the son/daughter just disappear after the father was shot?
    7. Did the son/daughter see Mr. Bundage leave the scene?
    8. Family said they heard a pop. Pistol make pops, rifles/shotgun does not make a pop.
    9. What if someone else saw something and is afraid to come forward due to fear?
    10. Why was Mr. Bundage's dogs shot instead of being sent to the pound to be put to sleep?
    11. Why were the puppies shot?

    So many questions, so few answers.

  • 77861 posted at 9:25 am on Sun, Sep 30, 2012.

    77861 Posts: 19

    Nothing in the news articles alluded to racism, but you are all about it. That tells me that you are just looking for conflict and a reason to disagree and have conflict with people. How do you expect to find peace in our life? If you go looking for trouble you are going to find it. Your comments alone makes me think further ill of the suspect in this case as you and he associated and I interpret that the two of you had the same views, which is to look for a reason to be suspect and negative.

  • danielalexander posted at 9:09 pm on Thu, Sep 27, 2012.

    danielalexander Posts: 8

    I knew James from a distance, but I found out that James needed some help, and when I found that out, I did sincerly apologize to the Mchale family for the wrong remarks I had made on this same page. But you keep harping on it. And I am sincere and meant that. I was wrong, And if my apology wasn't accepted who cares. I did apologize here and that is all that matters.

  • danielalexander posted at 8:56 pm on Thu, Sep 27, 2012.

    danielalexander Posts: 8

    Ifrotter i said that was stupid but you are also ignorant and a racist yourself, because if you think that there is no racism and prejudice in the Navasota, Plantersville, Dobin, Magnolia, Washington county, Anderson areas something is wrong with you.

  • lfrotter posted at 9:19 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    lfrotter Posts: 2

    @ danielalexander,
    You do realize that before criticizing me for being stupid you should probably review your past comments? Even ignoring the blatant grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, your comments are so filled with faulty logic that they are still highly questionable as a testament to your intellectual prowess. Firstly, why would it be strange that someone in the COUNTRY, who also trains hunting dogs, be carrying a gun outside? Heaven forbid. Secondly, your cousin wasn't placed in jail because in a civil dispute (without witnesses) the word of each party is the only evidence. Police require evidence, yet apparently you don't before spouting hateful rhetoric about something you admittedly "didn't know what was up". You even asked who would put up with James' mess. You're his blood, and even you say you wouldn't have tolerated him. Doesn't that just show how kind of a person Pat was? Lastly, I would say that Pat probably wasn't able to defend himself because your relative had the only firearm. Oh, and one more thing... you claim to know that a lot of people (I'm sure you're implying white people) in Stoneham are racist. So I'm assuming you automatically jumped to the conclusion that because Pat was white and from the area, therefore he must be racist. I don't know if anyone has ever explained this to you before, but passing judgment on an entire ethnic population based on broad generalizations is pretty much the definition of racism. Just saying.

  • danielalexander posted at 8:29 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    danielalexander Posts: 8

    This senseless feud between Mr. James and Mr. McHale been going on for some years since 2004 I know of and not over a fence line like the criminal Navasoto newspaper and police dept. are trying to present it to the general public.

  • danielalexander posted at 7:46 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    danielalexander Posts: 8

    And Ifrotter down below you shut up yourself you stupid F***k . I live out of town and ever now and then would see them out in the country out in their thier yard brandishing firearms sometimes. I didn't know what was up, I was just going on what James was tellling me about this man Mr. McHale over the years. I didn't know the McHales personally. But I know what James said of him. And why the police never placed James in jail if he was so wrong and evil?, or why didn't McHale defend himself from him if James was so crazy? I wouldn't have tolerated James mess. Who would have? But from my personal experience I do know a lot of them down their in Stoneham are prejudice against Black people, I do know that. Regardless of your stupidity.

  • Taz posted at 12:15 pm on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Taz Posts: 4

    Murder in general is a hate crime in my opinion. I was just pointing out a double standard brought into this on this thread and the previous article. I don't care how much you may get harassed, it NEVER justifies murder and that's what this was. Bundage didn't kill Pat, he murdered him and there is a difference. He is a coward.

  • 77861 posted at 11:33 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    77861 Posts: 19

    While this incident is indeed disgusting and senseless, I don't think it was a hate crime. The racism comments were brought to light by an ignorant rant from 'danielalexander' on another post. Nothing in the actual articles or 911 calls go down a racist path. Though I cannot speak of past incidences that are not noted in the string of articles.

  • Taz posted at 11:15 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Taz Posts: 4

    I'm saying he was a good person NOW, I've always said he was a good man. I've known Pat for many years and he didn't have a hateful bone in him. Bondage is more appropriate now but his name is Bundage. He took matters into his own hands and killed a man, regardless if you think Pat was a good man or not, Bundage murdered him. The "white men" that killed Mr. Byrd (a "black man") in East Texas were put to death as they deserved so your argument about justice in "good ole boy territory" and race is invalid. If the shoe were on the other foot people would be screaming that this was a hate crime but when someone kills a white, heterosexual male. it's never seen as a hate crime. How's that for justice? Well I tell you what, I call this a hate crime and Bundage should be charged with Capital Murder! Shooting a man is never justified over words period. You don't think Bundage will get a fair trial? How fair was Pat's trial? Even if Bundage gets the death penalty he will sit on death row for at least 5-10 years and friends and family will be able to talk to him. Friends and family will never get that luxury again and it's all because of what Bundage did, cold blooded murder. Pat wasn't a good man, he was a great man that others should aspire to be like. I've known Pat for over 25 years, if he was mad at you, he must have had a dang good reason. I've never met anyone that knew Pat that didn't like him. I'm just sorry that life got in the way and I lost touch with him over the past few years. Pat you will be missed and to Michelle and your family, there are no words to ease your pain. Only time and great memories will fill that void.

  • en36857 posted at 10:00 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    en36857 Posts: 3

    The Grimes County area is a prejudice area. I no longer live there but it is obvious that a picture is being painted of Mr. Bondage in advance of the trial. There is no way a trial for him will be fair. No one knows how the neighbors harrassed Mr. Bondage. It wasn't mentioned of the calls Mr. Bondage made to the police department regarding his neighbors. Of course it was a "black man" that killed a "white man" and we all know that regardless of what is said, McHale was the perfect neighbor and did nothing to provoke any of the issues that transpired. Now everyone is saying McHale was a good "ole Boy". Of course things aren't always what they appear to be.

  • Richard6262 posted at 9:41 am on Wed, Sep 26, 2012.

    Richard6262 Posts: 2

    Wonder if Mr. Brundage will be treated like George Zimmerman? Wonder if Jesse and Al are gonna create a public outcry like they did with Treyvon Martin over the murder of Pat? Wonder if the Reverend's are gonna appologize to the McHale family and march the streets with protest? Ya Right.............Why the double standard here????????????? I think we all know why.

  • LKandMike Anderson posted at 10:59 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    LKandMike Anderson Posts: 2

    Maybe the Police have the wrong Person?

  • DOGMAN posted at 7:23 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    DOGMAN Posts: 1

    I am deeeply saddened and heart broke at the loss of a dear friend. Constant thoughts of all the good times togeather training, hunting, fishing and just enjoying a good ole home cooked meal by Michelle race through my mind. In the buisness Pat was in, the last thing anyone would expect to hear is of his death due to a gunshot. Where I work now it is a comon factor of life. If a bomb don't get yah or a bullet don't get you its been a pretty good day. But on your own property by a neighbor, thats just wrong. The fact that the escalating situation was not recognised by local professionals in advance relative to the information they had available to them stills leaves a question in my mind. To my buddy, man Iam sorry I have not called in awhile, no excuss. The picture of you and me still hangs on the refrigerator, what a great day that was. Where u are now I have some pretty good dogs running around. Iam sure the'll remeber u, heck u helped train them. So buddy, untill I get there with you can u do me a favor, take um to the line, throw um a few marks and if they break, blame it on me.............................................................God Blessed you till the end

  • kws posted at 5:14 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    kws Posts: 1

    I knew Pat for 10 to 15 years and have been stunned by this news. The world has lost a good man. Say whatever you want to justify this murder, it will not sway me or the hundreds of others that knew Pat. I'm sure the jury will make the right decision.

  • lfrotter posted at 4:28 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    lfrotter Posts: 2

    Whoever the danielalexander is needs to shut their godd*mn mouth. Have you no respect? Your comments only show that you are hateful, uneducated trash who is undoubtedly related to the cowardly piece of sh*t that brought a firearm to a verbal dispute. Unlike your no account relative, Pat was a genuinely friendly individual and always welcomed us to his property with a grin and a handshake.

  • frank47 posted at 4:22 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    frank47 Posts: 9

    Bundage should have been in jail after all of his run in's with the law. I agree this should be a hate crime.

  • CNBarnes posted at 4:11 pm on Tue, Sep 25, 2012.

    CNBarnes Posts: 1

    Bundage needs to be charged with a hate crime so that this can be made a capital murder offense.