To : I. C. Smith
From : Jean Duffey
Re : Attached Benton Courier article
Dear Mr. Smith:
It is certainly not my intention to make an enemy of the FBI, but I cannot let yesterday's Benton Courier article go unchallenged. I understand that you were not in the Little Rock office during the time I communicated with your agent, Phyllis Cournan, for over a year, so I will give you some background information about my involvement with "the train deaths" case.
When I was administrator of the Seventh Judicial District Drug Task Force in 1990, one of my agents and I visited at length with then U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks about "the train deaths" and the information we had linking the case to drugs and public officials. My agent and I expressed our strong belief that drugs were being dropped in the area from small, low-flying planes in the middle of the night, and that the boys were killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The plane-drop theory, which has now been confirmed, apparently sent up a red flag to Banks. Although he promised he would get my agent and I before a grand jury, that never happened, and it was from that point Banks began dismantling the Saline County investigation all together. There are many incidents which support my believe that I will not detail in this writing.
After Banks closed the Saline County investigation and held a press conference in June of 1991 to clear all public officials of any wrong-doing, I was not involved again until March of 1994, when Phyllis Cournan contacted my brother. I had refused to respond to many such calls through the years and did not respond to Phyllis until a couple of weeks later when she called my brother again. This time she said to let me know the FBI had recommended that Chuck Banks be charged with obstructing justice. Hearing that, I made the assumption there was going to be a serious investigation into "the train deaths" and into Banks' actions, and I began communicating with Phyllis on a very frequent basis.
Over the course of the next year, Linda Ives and I were regularly involved in exchanging information from many different sources. Because the sharing of information is crucial when developing a complex case, Phyllis confided when information we generated was verified, sometimes through polygraphs. I have no doubt that Linda and I both know more about Phyllis's investigation than you would like, but it is for that reason we do not accept that there is "no evidence." What other explanation is there, but here is another cover-up?
The statements I made on the Pat Lynch Show were based on Linda's account of the meeting she and her husband, Larry, had with Bill Temple, John Kelly, and Phyllis Cournan. Although Linda's word is enough for me, I realize it may not be enough for everybody, so I made certain I had independent verification of what was said at that meeting. You are quoted in the Benton Courier saying Temple "has been very concerned, because he has been so badly misquoted." However, Phyllis verified in a taped telephone conversation that Temple said, "verbatim," that Larry and Linda should consider the fact that a crime was never committed.
Again, it is not my intention to cause us to become adversaries, but you must understand that after surviving a massive smear campaign, I am not going to make false statements or loose allegations. There is open season on anything I say publicly, so I am not about to say anything that will cause me to lose my newly regained credibility. Because of this, I cannot allow the Benton Courier article to go unanswered.
If you wish to speak with me, I am at the above number which is for phone and fax. I feel certain Linda will also be contacting you.
cc : Arkansas Democrat Gazette