Saturday, May 31, 1997

Witness recalls Harmon offer that $10,000, night in bed would free her husband

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

An Indiana woman on Friday recalled a proposition that former Prosecuting Attorney Dan Harmon once made her: $10,000 and a night in bed together in exchange for her husband's freedom.
"Dan said, 'Well, if you can't come up with more money, then the only other way to get him out of jail is to spend the night with me,''' Tina Davis testified.
In one of the 11 charges he's facing, Harmon is accused of asking Davis for money and sex in exchange for dropping state drug charges against Davis' ex-husband Patrick. Patrick Davis is expected to testify next week.
The accusation also is listed as part of a racketeering charge that alleges Harmon ran his office as a corrupt organization in violation of federal law. Ten acts are listed in the racketeering charge.
Davis' testimony came in the fourth day of Harmon's trial, sandwiched between that of other witnesses who claimed to have bribed Harmon to get out of serving time and to have seen him obtain methamphetamine from a convicted drug dealer.
Davis also testified that she saw Harmon use drugs during their meeting at the prosecuting attorney's office in March 1993. At the time, Harmon was prosecuting attorney for Hot Spring, Grant and Saline counties.
"He reached into a drawer in his desk and pulled out a tray with cocaine in it,'' she recalled. "He did a line of cocaine in his nose.''
Davis' testimony contradicted an earlier statement by Harmon's attorney, Lea Ellen Fowler, who predicted during opening arguments that the only person who would testify that Harmon used drugs was Holly DuVall, Harmon's ex-wife whom Fowler blamed for her client's predicament.
Davis said she came to Arkansas after receiving a phone call from her then-husband, who was jailed after a traffic stop. She said she saw Patrick in jail and he directed her to get $10,000 and take it to Harmon.
After collecting the money in $5, $10 and $20 bills from relatives and friends in Indiana, Davis said, she went to Harmon's office.
"I went into his office with him, and he closed the door. He told me there had been a problem and Patrick wasn't getting out of jail,'' she said. "Dan Harmon said Patrick had tried to make a weapon the previous night or sometime before. Later, he changed the story and said Patrick had tried to commit suicide.''
Davis said that was when Harmon told her she needed to come up with more than $10,000. She said she told the prosecutor she didn't have any more money.
"At that time, Dan Harmon asked me if I would spend the night with him at the hotel and we would work it out in the morning,'' Davis said.
Davis testified that in the end Harmon accepted the $10,000, and she and her husband were told to a sign papers indicating that the money had been found on them during the drug bust and was a legitimate forfeiture. That document, signed by Harmon and Roger Walls, the former head of the 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force, was displayed in court.
Walls also faces charges, including racketeering and extortion, and is scheduled to be tried in January 1998 with another co-defendant, Bill Murphy, who was a defense attorney in some cases handled by Harmon.
Davis said she asked Harmon when they would have to return for court.
"He told me we wouldn't receive any paperwork and not to ever come back, not to even drive through the state of Arkansas,'' she said.
Another prosecution witness, Jack Wooten, testified that he heard Harmon agree to provide a drug dealer with the chemicals needed to manufacture methamphetamine.
Wooten, a drug dealer who is to be sentenced Monday on federal drug charges, said Harmon sat with Ronnie Joe Knight while Knight made methamphetamine and then Harmon took two grams of it home with him.
"Dan Harmon would supply the chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine, and, if Ronnie and I would stay in Saline or Hot Spring counties, he would let us know if anything was going to come down,'' Wooten said.
Fowler attacked Wooten's credibility by running through his previous convictions on drug charges and pointing out that the U.S. attorney's office had promised to ask for a reduced sentence Monday in exchange for his testimony

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