The Benton Courier
Sunday, January 25, 1998
Dear Editor
Page 5A

Reader says corruption is alive and well in the area

Dear Editor:

    The feds and the Courier would have us believe that, with the convictions of Dan Harmon and Roger Walls, they have wiped out public official corruption in the 7th Judicial District. For too long now, at least 10 years, citizens have known that drug trafficking and public official corruption have gone hand in hand in the 7th Judicial District. The deaths of Kevin Ives and Don Henry, found dead on the railroad tracks on Aug. 23, 1987, signaled the death of innocence in Saline and surrounding counties.
    More than once citizens have voted for change, but came up short. In 1988 we ousted a 12-year incumbent Democratic sheriff in exchange for an unknown Republican - the first Republican sheriff ever for Saline County, only to find there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between them. In 1996 the same thing happened in the prosecutor's race. We voted out Dan Harmon in exchange for the first ever Republican prosecutor. We might as well have kept Harmon, since Webb kept on Richard Garrett, who along with Harmon and other officials, was a target of a 1990 federal grand jury investigation into public official corruption.
    Harmon has been convicted of racketeering. The feds told us he had been using the prosecutor's office to run a "criminal enterprise" - something we, and they, had known for a long time. It has now been seven months since his conviction, but he has yet to be sentenced. Incredibly, the U.S. Attorney's office and Harmon's defense attorney are now arguing about how to interpret the sentencing guidelines because his victims were not really "innocent" victims. Have you ever known any other case where the sentence hinged on WHO the victims were? Holly DuVall was given three years probation in exchange for her testimony against Harmon. The federal prosecutor claimed "it was Holly's willingness to cooperate and testify that solidified their case against Harmon. " How did her testimony solidify their case? The jury didn't even believe her and acquitted him on that charge.
    The feds dropped the racketeering and conspiracy charges against Bill Murphy and allowed him to plead guilty to "suborning perjury" for persuading his wife to lie to a federal grand jury, and they dropped the most serious of the charges, money laundering and racketeering, against Roger Walls before he went to trial.
    The Jan. 16 Courier editorial states "Our county law enforcement and drug agents are doing their jobs now with a record number of methamphetamine busts last year. Let's hope we have seen the last of the likes of Dan Harmon and Roger Walls." Dan Harmon COULD not and DID not operate his "Criminal enterprise" without the participation of judges, lawyers, law enforcement and even U.S. attorneys working in cahoots with him. Indeed, they have barely scratched the surface. Public official corruption is alive and well in the 7th Judicial District.

Linda Ives,