Thursday, October 23, 1997

Harmon's ex-wife gets 3 years of probation


A federal judge Wednesday sentenced Holly DuVall to three years' probation with the condition that she stay away from drugs and alcohol and continue her treatment for substance abuse.

DuVall, the ex-wife of former Saline County Prosecutor Dam Harmon, cooperated with federal prosecutors to escape more damaging drug charges. She was married to Harmon from 1992 to 1995.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Stripling told Chief U.S. District Judge Stephen Reasoner in federal District Court at Little Rock that it was DuVall's willingness to cooperate and testify that solidified their case against Harmon.

Harmon, 52, was prosecuting attorney for the 7th Judicial District - Hot Spring, Saline and Grant counties - from 1990 through 1995 when he resigned as part of a plea bargain in which he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor and no contest to another.

In June, a federal jury convicted Harmon of racketeering, three counts of extortion and one count of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.

Harmon was on home arrest awaiting sentencing on his federal conviction until his Oct. 4 arrest on new drug charges. Last week he was indicted on a charge 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, Harmon's sentence could be increased up to 10 years because the alleged crimes took place while Harmon was under court supervision.

"I can't think of any other witness that has been as forthright as Ms. DuVall," Stripling told Reasoner.

Stripling said DuVall also led them to Patricia Vaughn, a friend of Harmon who testified against him in his first trial, and apparently persuaded Vaughn to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

Vaughn taped six conversations she had with Harmon during the last week of September and first week of October where he promised to share drugs with her. These tapes were among evidence used to bring the new charges against Harmon.

DuVall, 28 was indicted on a charge of knowing about the commission of felony and not reporting it. She could have been sentenced to three years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, or both.

While married to Harmon, DuVall was accused of breaking into a drug bask force evidence locker with him in October 1995 and stealing more than one kilogram of cocaine.

After agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, other charges against DuVall - possession of 1.1 kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute - were dropped.

As part of her probation she must continue attending a drug abuse treatment program where she is tested weekly for drug use.

Reasoner also fined her $1,000 to be paid in $35 monthly installments, and a $50 mandatory assessment fee.

DuVall told Reasoner that she’s been clean of drugs for about a year. She works at an automobile dealership in Benton and plans to live with her parents.

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