Friday, October 24, 1997

Harmon set to face jury trial Nov. 24 on new drug counts

Former Prosecuting Attorney Dan Harmon of Benton and an alleged associate asked for jury trials during their arraignment in federal court Thursday.

Harmon, 52, faces charges of using a telephone to further a drug transaction, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and attempting to distribute methamphetamine.

Harmon, who was convicted of racketeering and other charges in June, was supposed to be on home detention awaiting sentencing when he was arrested Oct. 4 for allegedly trying to bring methamphetamine to a girlfriend’s apartment in Conway. He has been in custody since that time.

Thursday, he waived a formal reading of the new charges against him and pleaded innocent. His trial is set for Nov. 24 before U.S. District Judge Henry Woods, but Harman's attorney, Lea Ellen Fowler, has already asked for a delay.

Sheridan lawyer Bill Murphy, Harmon’s co-defendant in the racketeering case, was indicted last week on new charges — one count of conspiring to have people lie under oath and two counts of convincing individuals to lie under oath. He pleaded innocent to the charges at Thursday’s hearing.

Murphy also faces one count of racketeering, two counts of conspiring to extort money and one count of bank fraud in the earlier case. Murphy is scheduled for trial in January on these charges.

At Murphy’s request, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jerry W. Caveneau appointed an attorney to represent Murphy, who said he has no money but does own property.

"I’ve been trying to sell this property for several months now," Murphy said.

Caveneau told Murphy he may have to reimburse the government for the cost of his defense.

Henry E. Wells was indicted with Murphy last week on charges of conspiring to have people lie to the grand jury, convincing someone to lie under oath and making a false statement to the grand jury. Wells also pleaded innocent.

Caveneau allowed Murphy and Wells to remain free on their personal recognizance. They are scheduled for trial Nov. 24 before U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright.

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