Friday, October 10, 1997

Harmon to remain in custody

Ex-prosecutor agrees to await sentencing

Former Prosecuting Attorney Dan Harmon agreed Thursday to remain behind bars until his sentencing on five federal felonies.

Harmon, 52, of Benton, has been in the Pulaski County jail since Saturday when he was arrested on a complaint of attempting to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. According to court papers, Harmon jumped into a lake at a Conway apartment complex while fleeing FBI agents trying to arrest him.

Harmon also is accused of tampering with a drug test, testing positive for methamphetamine use and violating his electronically monitored home detention by traveling to a girlfriendís apartment in Conway.

Based on the four accusations, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Stripling on Tuesday asked Chief U.S. District Judge Stephen M. Reasoner to revoke Harmonís supervised release and put him behind bars until his sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

Harmon "does not contest the facts contained in the violations report," Lea Ellen Fowler, Harmonís attorney, wrote to Reasoner.

Harmon was convicted in June of racketeering, three counts of extortion and one count of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. After the verdict, Harmon - who served the 7th Judicial District of Grant, Saline and Hot Spring counties - continued to proclaim his innocence and said he would appeal his convictions.

Reasoner did not enter a detention order Thursday.

However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Jones on Thursday signed an order holding Harmon behind bars until his trial on the new federal drug charge stemming from Saturday's arrest. Jones based his decision on a second letter from Fowler.

"After speaking with Mr. Harman, it is his desire to waive his right to a preliminary examination and formal detention hearing," Fowler wrote. "Mr. Harmon does not contest detention in this matter. For the record, I concur with Mr. Harmonís decision based upon the information I have been provided by the government thus far."

Harmon is expected to be indicted on the new charge when the federal grand jury meets next week.

Fowler was out of the office and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Paula Casey said Harmonís decision not to contest his detention will not affect his ability to defend himself from the latest charge.

Copyright 1997, Little Rock Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.