Wednesday, May 30, 1997

She bought dope, lied for Harmon, ex says

LINDA FRIEDLIEB
ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

Thursday, Holly DuVall described her life with former prosecutor Dan Harmon as that of a drug addict who helped Harmon, a fellow addict, conceal his habit.
"I would go out to purchase some drugs,'' DuVall recalled. "He couldn't do it. He was prosecuting attorney.''
DuVall, 28, testified Thursday during the third day of the trial of Harmon, her former husband, on federal racketeering, drug, conspiracy and extortion charges.
"I lied basically for several years to protect him,'' DuVall said. "He was an elected official. I wasn't going to tell anyone he was using.''
DuVall also testified she first saw Harmon using methamphetamine in 1992 when they were living together and that she later saw Harmon use both marijuana and cocaine.
Harmon, 52, faces 11 charges in an indictment handed up by the grand jury in April. He's the former prosecuting attorney of the state's 7th Judicial District, which covers Hot Spring, Grant and Saline counties. His trial, before Chief U.S. District Judge Stephen M. Reasoner, is expected to take more than three weeks.
The federal indictment charges, among other things, that Harmon ran his prosecuting attorney's office as a corrupt organization in violation of the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
It also charges that Harmon broke into the evidence locker of the drug task force based in his office and stole cocaine with DuVall.
DuVall was originally charged with that drug theft and with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. She attempted to have the evidence in that case suppressed, but began cooperating with the government when she failed.
Harmon's attorney, Lea Ellen Fowler, challenged DuVall's credibility and her motive for testifying.
During opening statements Tuesday, Fowler argued that DuVall was the real cause of Harmon's problems.
"So when you were faced with imminent jail time, you decided if you had to go, you wouldn't go alone or you would find a way so you wouldn't have to go at all?'' Fowler asked.
DuVall replied that she didn't see why she should be the only one to go to prison for crimes in which others had been involved.
DuVall also acknowledged that she had lied under oath during two rounds of testimony before the grand jury and that the government is paying her $1,375 monthly rent.
When Harmon was indicted, the government dropped the two drug charges against DuVall. Instead, she was charged with misprision -- knowing about a felony but not reporting it. Tuesday, DuVall pleaded guilty to that charge, which carries a three-year maximum prison term.
No date has been set for sentencing.
Two days after pleading guilty to the lesser charge, DuVall described how in October 1995, she and Harmon went to the prosecuting attorney's office, climbed into the attic and walked along support beams until they reached the corner over the evidence locker.
DuVall said she reached her arm through a small open section of the ceiling and pulled out a sack containing evidence.
"He opened up the sack and he couldn't believe it,'' DuVall said of Harmon. "It was several bricks of cocaine. We went home and opened a brick and started using.''
DuVall said she and Harmon became concerned the evidence would be missed because of the amount of cocaine in the sack, and that was when they decided to make fake bricks out of modeling clay.
When police searched a condominium DuVall was renting on Lake Hamilton in November 1995, a drug dog found a duffel bag containing a fake brick wrapped in papers identifying it as evidence in a drug case from Harmon's office.
Fowler tried to discredit DuVall's testimony with DuVall's own words, reading aloud from letters DuVall wrote to Harmon more than a year ago while in a drug treatment facility.
"I'm sorry I've caused all the hell you're having to endure,'' DuVall wrote in one letter. "Hopefully it will not be long before they realize you are innocent.''
Several other witnesses testified Thursday about an extortion charge against Harmon.
The indictment charges that Dewayne Littlepage, a drug dealer sentenced to 56 years in state prison, forged an agreement with Harmon and defense attorney Bill Murphy, one of Harmon's co-defendants.
Under that purported agreement, Littlepage would pay Harmon and Murphy $100,000 in exchange for reducing his sentence and dismissing other pending charges.
Meanwhile, the indictment charges that Littlepage was to be released on an appeal bond so he could sell drugs to raise the money for Harmon and Walls.
Martha Littlepage, Dewayne's wife, testified Thursday that she witnessed her husband meet with Harmon and Walls and that she saw money delivered to Harmon in a plastic bag.
"I was afraid of Dan Harmon because he had given Dewayne 56 years,'' Martha Littlepage said when asked why she hadn't gone to law enforcement officials with her suspicions. "I saw how he ran his court.... I thought Mr. Harmon controlled most of the counties of the state.''
Rodney Bowers, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Benton bureau chief, testified Thursday afternoon on a charge against Harmon of retaliation against a witness.
The indictment charges that Harmon physically attacked Bowers when Bowers approached him seeking comment for a news story on the drug task force.
"He sucker-punched me. He jumped on my back and started hitting me on the back of my head,'' Bowers said. "I never dreamed a prosecutor would hit me for asking for a comment.'

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

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