Thursday, October 16, 1997

Grand jury indicts Harmon on 4 drug-related charges

       A federal grand jury indicted former Prosecuting Attorney Dan Harman on four drug-related charges Wednesday, less than two weeks after Harmon jumped in a pond to evade FBI agents.
       Sheridan attorney Bill Murphy, one of Harmonís co-defendants in an earlier racketeering case, also was accused of new crimes by the grand jury Wednesday.
       Harmon, 52, of Benton, was indicted on two counts of using the telephone to further a drug transaction, one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of attempting to distribute methamphetamine.
       If convicted, Harmonís sentence could be increased up to 10 years because the alleged crimes took place while Harmon was under court supervision.
       Harmonís attorney, Lea Ellen Fowler, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
       After a three-week trial, Harmon was convicted in June of racketeering, three counts of extortion and one count of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. He was found innocent of seven additional charges. No sentencing date has been set for his convictions, which Harmon has vowed to appeal.
       Harmon has been behind bars since Oct. 4, when he allegedly tried to bring methamphetamine to a girlfriend's apartment in Conway. At the time, Harmon was supposed to be on home detention with electronic monitoring.
       When confronted by the FBI, Harmon ran through the apartment complex and jumped into a pond with his clothes on, where he moved about under water before exiting the pond and allowing himself to be taken into custody, court papers said.
       Harmon filed court papers after his arrest agreeing to remain behind bars until his sentencing on the old charges and his trial on the new.
       Using the telephone to aid in a drug transaction carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and a $60,000 fine. The other two charges carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The enhancement for committing the crime while under court supervision could add up to 10 years in prison. Sentences are governed by the federal sentencing guidelines.
       Murphy was indicted Wednesday for conspiring to have people lie under oath and two counts of convincing individuals to lie under oath.
       Henry E. Wells of Sheridan is also indicted on one count of conspiring to have people commit perjury, one count of convincing someone to lie under oath and a third charge of making a false statement before the grand jury.
       The charges arose out of a scheme in which Murphy allegedly accepted a $30,000 loan from three men, one of whom was a client and a methamphetamine dealer, the indictment said. The money, it added, was used to pay off $25,900 that Murphy's wife owed to the Kroger Company.
       Murphy and Wells allegedly told Billy Wright, the methamphetamine dealer, to lie to U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerry W. Cavaneau about a promissory note and the payment made to Murphy and Wells. Murphy also allegedly told his wife, Sandra, to lie to the grand jury when she testified before it last May. Wells also allegedly lied to the grand jury when he testified last May.

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