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Update: August 23, 2019
The Mena Connection
By Jean Duffey
Question: What is more important than holding the killers of Kevin Ives and Don Henry accountable?
Answer: Protecting the legacy of three U.S. Presidents.
Question: Now that the criminal complicity of these presidents has been exposed and is not disputable, what is the justification for continuing to protect the killers?
Answer: There is none, not that there ever was.
Below is a fact sheet of mostly circumstantial evidence that the murders of Kevin and Don are linked to Mena. According to Paula Casey, Arkansas U.S. Attorney (1983 to 2000), circumstantial evidence is good evidence.
PAULA CASEY’S COMMENT:TUESDAY, APRIL 14, 1998
- “Circumstantial evidence is what you brought against Mr. Harmon this time. That didn’t seem to make a difference to the jury. They only deliberated for an hour.”
- PAULA CASEY:
- “Well there was some direct evidence in the case, but a lot of it was circumstantial evidence. But, circumstantial evidence is still evidence and it can be very compelling.”
That’s what she says, but Paula Casey refuses to even look at, much less consider, the cumulative evidence that connects at least two Saline County murders to the crimes of Mena. But then, maybe she already knows and is doing her part to thwart justice.
But, remember, there is no statute of limitations on murder.
The Circumstantial Evidence
Reports to authorities of low-flying planes along rural Saline County train tracks late at night were ignored. Residents around a mile-stretch of tracks described activities of low-flying, small engine planes, coming from the direction of a well-lighted Children’s Colony, lining up with the tracks, slowing to stall speed with their lights off for a few seconds, then revving back up to fly away. Witnesses speculated that these occurrences were drug drops, and several reported them to Saline County Sheriff authorities, but no investigator ever followed up even to feign interest. A reasonable assumption might be that the residents were witnessing illegal drug drops protected by law enforcement.
August 23, 1987, Kevin and Don were murdered in the same area of the plane activity, and their bodies were laid across the tracks for a a train to run over. The cover-ups began immediately. The initial investigation, conducted by the Saline County Sheriff James Steed was the worst orchestrated sham imaginable.
The murders made for sensational news and there was such a public outcry that Judge John Cole impaneled a county grand jury. Knowing that attorney Dan Harmon participated in the murders, Cole appointed him to head the investigation in order to control it. To make it look like he was cleaning up Saline County, Harmon indicted several drug dealers and dirty cops with which he was at odds. Harmon was hailed a hero, but actually witnesses and informants who had information about the murders of Kevin and Don were murdered themselves. So far, two investigations went nowhere. Then a state police investigation went south. Linda couldn’t grasp the incompetency or whatever it was that was happening.
In 1990, Jean Duffey’s drug task force began a legitimate investigation but Jean and her investigator, Scott, realized that an investigation of a drug operation using planes was beyond the capability of their small task force. Jean knew that Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Govar was leading a federal grand jury investigation of drug trafficking and public official corruption in Saline County, so she made an appointment to visit Govar. Instead of meeting Govar, Jean and Scott were ushered in to see Govar’s boss, Chuck Banks. Scott showed Banks an aerial map of the tracks, the path of the plane activity, and witness statements. This apparently turned out to be a warning to Banks that the task force might expose Mena, and neither Govar nor the grand jury heard the information.
An orchestrated massive media smear campaign was soon launched against Jean. John Cole issued illegal felony warrants for her arrest on bogus charges and said he would deny her to bond out when arrested. Meanwhile, a purported $50,000 was put on Jean’s life, so she went into hiding to await the imminent indictments promised by Govar. While in hiding, an Arkansas Gazette reporter, Chris Day, called Jean to tell her what he learned from a high-level informant. It was too absurd for Jean to believe, but it actually happened the way Chris said it would. Chuck Banks shut down Govar’s two-year-long federal grand jury investigation and cleared all Saline County public officials of corruption and any other wrong-doing. In return, President George H.W. Bush rewarded Banks with a federal judgeship nomination. Although circumstantial, this evidence is HUGE! What reason would a sitting U.S. President have for interjecting himself into an investigation of corrupt county officials in Arkansas? That would, of course, have to be because an investigation would expose something that had to do with national security, a secret government operation, terrorism, or maybe something like illegal activity at the highest level. A secret government operation and illegal activity at the highest level both fit.
In spite of efforts by Harmon and Cole to put Jean away, Jean was cleared. Linda had figured out the evils of Harmon, so Linda and Jean finally met and began working together. The Mena connection was made for them. For Jean, it was the interjection of President Bush. For Linda it was a tape she got from Arkansas State Trooper Detective Russell Welch in Mena. The tape was barely audible then, and is completely inaudible now, but it is an interview with a prison inmate who said that the drug drops in Saline County came from Mena. Covering up the crimes of Mena is what has always made the most sense. It is, in fact, the only thing that has ever made sense.
Linda and Jean shared task force files with John Brown, a deputy who worked a short time for Saline County Sheriff Judy Pridgon. The files contained Scott’s interviews of residents around the tracks who suspicioned the plane activity was drug drops. An informant gave John information on a pilot named “Joe” who claimed to have dropped cocaine and money at the same stretch of track. “Joe” was located and interviewed by John Brown and corroborated the residents description of the plane activities . “Joe” described how the lights from the nearby “children’s colony” directed him to the tracks. “Joe” said he lined up with the tracks and used railroad lights that hung horizontally on an arm to mark where to kick the packages out of a small sliding door by his feet. However, when John walked the tracks, there were no such railroad lights. Chalking it up as disinformation John moved on. Some time later, John was telling Linda and Larry the story. Larry, a train engineer, had run those tracks for years and said that the lights did hang horizontally on an arm at the time the boys were killed but had been changed recently to stand vertically.
John Brown later turned against Linda and Jean. They don’t know why. Was he threatened? Was he blackmailed? They just don’t know, but they were on their own again. Jean found “Joe” in Amarillo, Texas and drove there to interview him. “Joe” showed Jean copies of paystubs from the U.S. Treasury and several other official-looking documents, but “Joe’s “ real name was redacted, and Jean could not verify that “Joe” was a “contract pilot” for the CIA as he claimed, but she found “Joe” to be sincere and appropriately cautious, and she tended to believe him. Finally, “Joe” insisted that the “packages” he flew to various locations were driven to Waco in freight trucks and the truck drivers said they were picked up from a small airport in Mena, Arkansas. There didn’t seem to be much reason for “Joe” to make up such a story, but Jean had to leave it at that and move on.
On July 26, 1998, Mark Keesee, the original webmaster of ID Files, got three e-mail death threats that were routed through Thailand and bizarrely dated July 26, 2000. This is as direct as evidence can get. The homepage of idfiles.com stated, “police officers murdered [Kevin and Don] because they witnessed a police-protected drug drop. The drop was part of a drug smuggling operation based at a small airport in Mena, Arkansas.” The logical assumption is that the website might expose the crimes of Mena. Mark reported the threat to the Little Rock FBI Bureau who, according to FBI Bureaus in Houston and in Sacramento, ignored normal procedure and went to the U.S. Attorney Paula Casey before investigating the threat. Paula Casey declined to prosecute. So, did Casey decline to prosecute because the FBI did not investigate and she had no one to prosecute or did Casey tell the FBI not to bother to investigate because she wasn’t going to prosecute? Either way, it smells of complicity.
There are many parallels between the investigations of Mena and the investigations of Saline County, not the least of which are the 4 legitimate investigators who refused to quit even when ordered. The thwarted investigations had proximity of time, location, and method.
- Both Mena and Saline County had upwards of 7 investigations, from the local to the federal level, shut down by higher authorities.
- Each location had two legitimate investigators, who refused to let go, so were discredited, investigated, fired, threatened, and worse.
- In Mena:
- Arkansas State Trooper Investigator, Russel Welch, who refused to back off was send weapons-grade anthrax and very nearly died. He retired but continued to investigate.
- IRS investigator Bill Duncan refused to back off. His career and personal life was destroyed.
- In Saline County:
- Saline County Drug Task Force Director Jean Duffey ignored directives to turn a blind eye on corruption and was smeared in the media, had $50,000 on her head, and had her law license revoked.
- FBI Special Agent Phyllis Cournan, had to fight the “good ol’ boys” at every turn. She was harassed, discredited, and finally fired. She has been too afraid to talk
U.S. Attorney Asa Hutchinson thwarted Bill Duncan’s investigation of Barry Seal for tax crimes. In August, 2017, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Kirk Lane as Arkansas State Drug Czar. According to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, Lane is a prime suspect in the murders of Kevin and Don.
After Barry Seal was assassinated, his ex-brother-in-law and first pilot, Billy Bottoms, became an internet detractor, calling any illegal activity at Mena a “hoax” and any drug activity a “myth.” Bottoms directed most of his communication to Detective Welch and a great deal to Linda and Jean. One thing was certain. If Bottoms said something happened at Mena, it didn’t. If he said something didn’t happen at Mena, it did. And he’s still at it. Just this summer (2019) Bottoms sent a message to Jean through Barry’s widow, Debbie Seal, that drugs from Mena never, never went to Saline County. So which is it? No drugs in Mena or no drugs from Mena went to Saline County?
The above is merely a summary of the cumulative evidence, but the complete story is within these pages of ID Files. Make up your own mind about whether the evidence is compelling enough to warrant a legitimate investigation, which has never happened. The Arkansas Bureau of the FBI, the Arkansas U.S. Attorneys, the Arkansas State Police, seven Saline County Sheriffs, and the Benton City Police have all had multiple opportunities to conduct forthright investigations, but haven’t. We’re certainly not suggesting a Congressional investigation. Every American knows those things never produce competent results, although costing millions of dollars. It appears that there is nowhere to see justice.
Perhaps the best evidence (although circumstantial) is the complete lack of evidence. Of the 2000 FBI documents obtained through an FOIA request, not one mentions Mena. This is curious, since Jean and Linda talked to Special Agent Phyllis Cournan at length about their beliefs that the murders are connected to Mena. It is made clear within those 2000 documents that cops were involved in the murders of Kevin and Don, that public officials participated in cover-ups, that sham investigations were conducted by authorities, and that legitimate investigators were discredited, but not one word about Mena. There are an admitted 15,000 withheld FBI documents. What could those documents possibly hold that cannot be released after 32 years since the murders and decades after every investigation has been shut down. The absence of information is certainly circumstantial evidence but it speaks loudly.
Let’s speculate for a moment that a high-level connection to the Clinton’s has come forward. (IT’S NOT THE EX-WRESTLER. HE AND THE PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR WHO PROMOTED HIM TURNED OUT TO BE COMPLETE FRAUDS.)
This would be someone completely unexpected but absolutely legitimate, who knows that money was being dropped on that mile-stretch of tracks and taken to Bill. Where would Linda and Jean take him/her if they want to assure his/her safety? Is there absolutely nowhere? Because the murders are connected to Mena, there is not.
Update: August 22, 2019
Dan Harmon/Public Officials
By Jean Duffey
The story of Dan Harmon is as much about the public officials who supported and protected him as it is about Harmon himself. His power over so many high-level players would be inexplicable but for the Saline Memorial Hospital scandal. In summary, the hospital administrator, embezzled hospital funds to finance a party house, always supplied with the best wine, food, dope, and party girls. High level state leaders were frequent guests, but did not know that every room was wired with secret cameras and recording devices throughout. When the party house was raided, Judge John Cole appointed Harmon as special prosecutor, who took possession of all the evidence. The party tapes were never seen again. The possible use by Harmon of one of those tapes is suggested on Chuck Banks’ page under Bad Guys. The newspaper accounts of the Saline Memorial Hospital scandal are under Saline County Investigations.
No surprise then that Cole appointed Harmon to lead the county grand jury investigation of the “train deaths.” Also, no surprise that during the investigation, witnesses turned up dead, and nothing useful came from the grand jury other than their frustration that they were fettered from doing their jobs, and what they wanted to report was disallowed by Cole. See video clip.
Harmon, a democrat, was well-publicized as a wife-beater, a drug distributor, and a tax-dodger, yet Attorney Ray Baxter, a democratic party leader, told reporters Harmon’s troubles are “none of the party’s business.” Harmon was jailed for refusing to submit to drug testing as a condition of release at his arraignment hearing on federal tax charges, yet the district’s State Senator Charlie Cole Chaffin cheered and praised him for his “Constitutional” stance. Arkansas’s Committee on Professional Conduct suspended Harmon’s license to practice law, yet a long list of public officials, including State Attorney General Winston Bryant, convinced the committee to nullify the order. Harmon went on a crime spree of kidnapping, assault and battery and was charged with six felonies, yet Special Prosecutor Paul Boson reduced the six felonies to two misdemeanors, and Special Judge Hamilton Singleton slapped Harmon on the wrist. A federal grand jury heard enough evidence to unanimously indict Harmon on various drug-related crimes, yet U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks sent the jury panel home and held a press conference clearing Harmon of all allegations. It truly is hard to believe that Harmon had something on all of these supporters and protectors, but an alternative explanation does not come to mind? Perhaps a tape on someone who had influence/control over some of the others? We just don’t know. News articles chronicling the above are on the Saline County Investigation page.
Update: October 6, 2019
Billy Jack Rap
By Jean Duffey
Linda’s website team worked feverishly to meet the deadline of August 23, 2019 (the 32nd anniversary of the murders), to publish the revamped www.idfiles.com. The deadline was met and the site drew over 11,000 views in just 30 days. This was without a push for new followers, since we are still building the website and working to complete the posting of foundational materials that Linda has chronicled for 32 years..
However, a bizarre circumstance has interrupted our plans. Billy Jack Hayes, an ex-pro-wrestler from Portland, contacted Linda in late 2016, and told her that he was on the tracks the night Kevin and Don were murdered. Linda has never refused to hear information, no matter how questionable, so she talked with Haynes for months. Most of his information can be found on the internet, and Linda had no way to verify or discredit the rest. The next 3 years exposed Haynes’ increasing determination to make money by exploiting his story. He refused to talk with law enforcement but promised to take a polygraph, and he went from telling possibly plausible involvement with the people who killed the boys to increasingly implausible tales and an inability to keep his facts straight.
Haynes’ tales became more and more sensational. He claims he has a video of the train running over the boys, but no one has ever seen it, he claims that he had a one-night stand with Bill Clinton who Haynes says “was in love with me,” he says that he talked on a cell phone with Bill when the boys were captured and could hear Hillary yelling in the backgroud, “Leave no witnesses.” Linda insisted that Haynes take a polygraph. He insisted that he has passed 3, but no evidence of that has been offered.
Apparently, now more desperate than ever for money and fame, Haynes conned a rap group into producing a video about his claims of being involved in the murders of 2 children as a result of trafficking cocaine for Barry Seal. I knew the answer before I asked Seal’s wife, Debbie, a really lovely person, if it was possible that Haynes distributed for Seal. She just laughed. Of course, anyone with any knowledge of Seal’s operations, knows that he was a mover of tons and tons of cocaine and was not involved in street-level distribution from the trunk of his car as Haynes claims.
The rap video was discovered by James, our webmaster, just after it was posted on youtube, August 12, 2019. James wasn’t alarmed, since it only had fewer than 100 views, so he dismissed it as inconsequential. Haynes has posted many video interviews on youtube, which has earned him the nickname “Billy Wack Hayes.” Haynes readily admits to having brain damage as a result of his years of wrestling.
I watched the rap video this morning, which now has about 782 views. It doesn’t look like it’s going viral, so Linda and I would like to give the rap group, “The Mighty Casey X-Mankind,” a boost.
There are several reasons we want to promote the rappers and their video.
- The talented rappers tell Billy Jack Haynes’ tale in a clever and entertaining way that doesn’t offend Linda or disrespect the boys.
- The rap doesn’t include offensive claims about Linda or me that Haynes’ has frequently published, and doesn’t include anything that Linda and I feel is inappropriate, considering the medium.
- The rappers portrayal of Haynes clearly begs the question, “Who, in their right mind, would try so hard to make people believe that he was involved in murdering children?”
- The rap tells the story of a man who would be in prison if he had a shred of credibility, but not one law enforcement agency has so much as even questioned him.
- We see a potential for the video to draw attention to our website from an audience that would otherwise not likely be available to us.
Their video is at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=fkNkDvHH_r0 . We wish “The Mighty Casey X-Mankind” luck and hope they go viral.
Update: February 24, 2000
Will The Real Jay Campbell Please Stand Up?
By Jean Duffey
Turns out that Jay Campbell isn’t the “great guy,” the “good Christian,” the “caring person,” the “trusted officer,” etc., etc., etc., attested to by FBI Agent Mike Smith and another ten or so law enforcement officers at trial last summer. Now we understand why not one officer from Campbell’s own department (The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department) testified for him as a character witness. They apparently know Campbell’s real character, but that didn’t bother Mike.
Seems Mike’s pal, Jay Campbell has been intimidating fellow officers and falsifying department records. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Campbell was fired for compiling “a blacklist of deputies who worked off-duty jobs for less than the office’s recommended minimum pay rate” of $25 an hour. Campbell “attempted to enforce these minimum pay rates on deputies . . . through intimidation and the use of (his) authority by virtue of (his) rank . . . .”
Surely Mike’s good buddy was just trying to uphold high standards for the department. ‘Fraid not. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says, “at the same time Campbell published the blacklist, he was working off-duty (himself) at the Little Rock Convention Center for less than $25 an hour.” Seems Mike’s colleague is no more than a thug with double standards.
Mike’s friend also has no qualms about lying. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette says, Campbell approved “employment for four deputies at the Planet Earth nightclub. Department policy forbids deputies from working off-duty at bars,” so Campbell falsified the officers’ requests by characterizing the nightclub as “a restaurant.”
A liar is a liar is a liar, but with so many impressive character witnesses at trial vouching for his veracity, Linda and I couldn’t get the jury to see the real Jay Campbell.
We also had numerous affidavits attesting to Campbell and his former partner, Kirk Lane, using violent threats and intimidation against witnesses. We tried to get the evidence introduced, but the judge disallowed it as being too prejudicial. Some of the affidavits were sworn to by witnesses who had no reason what-so-ever to do anything but simply come forward with the truth. The jury heard little else about the character of Campbell and Lane than what the string of seemingly upstanding, forthright law enforcement officers had to say about the flawless virtues of their cronies.
Then and Now Recap
Then, a parade of public officials testified as character witnesses for Dan Harmon when his law license was suspended. They were later proven to be either fools or liars. The same is now true for the character witnesses for Campbell. (I would especially like to know which Mike Smith claims to be, a fool or a liar. If anyone finds out, please let me know.)
Then, Harmon was vigorously protected by State Drug Czar Robert Shepherd, who pretended to me that he wanted Harmon indicted. Shepherd requested a meeting with me, asking for information my task force had developed, but I already knew Shepherd’s real intentions and gave him nothing. Now, Campbell has and is being protected by the FBI, particularly Mike Smith. Smith sat in on an FBI meeting with Linda and me, when we asked them to protect an eyewitness that can identify Campbell and Lane as the hands-on killers of Kevin and Don. We didn’t learn until the trial that Smith was a close friend of Campbell. (Smith’s presence at the meeting was so remarkably inappropriate, there should be no doubt left in anybody’s mind that the FBI lacks even a shred of integrity.)
Then, Harmon enjoyed impunity for such a long time that his behavior became too blatant to ignore. Apparently Campbell has now suffered the same fate.
Then, Harmon was finally indicted, tried, and convicted but for much lesser offenses than he could or should have been. Now it is virtually impossible to believe that a 17-year veteran of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department was fired for the reasons being reported if his record is otherwise clean.
Evidence The Jury Did Not Get To Hear:
The jury never got to hear the testimony of the eyewitness who can identify Campbell and Lane as the killers. During the summer of 1998, Linda and I discovered that the state police went to great lengths to discredit a purported eyewitness to the murders. His name is Ronnie Godwin, and if a jury ever hears his testimony, they will know that Campbell and Lane are the killers.
We had to give Godwin up during depositions so we went immediately to the FBI to ask for protection for him. Little did we know we were asking Campbell’s cohort to protect Godwin.
The attorney for Campbell and Lane contacted Godwin, and asked him if he had, indeed, identified Campbell and Lane to Linda and me as the cops he saw that night. When Godwin said he had not, the attorney got Godwin to sign an affidavit to that effect. The attorney then subpoenaed Godwin to testify at trial.
The affidavit didn’t worry us. We knew that to Godwin’s way of thinking, he had been truthful on the affidavit. He never actually said the names to us. On our first meeting with Godwin, Linda asked him point-blank; “Were the police officers you saw kill the boys Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane?” Godwin said, “I refuse to answer that question.” Linda said, “Ronnie, you just did. If it hadn’t been them, you wouldn’t have had a problem saying so.” From that point, we always spoke of the incident with the understanding that we all knew what he meant.
We talked to Godwin the day before trial was to begin. We wanted to know what he was going to say when the attorney for Campbell and Lane asked him if he could identify the police officers he saw that night.
Godwin said, “I’m going to answer him the same way I answered you.” “How’s that,” I asked. He said, “I’m going to say that I refuse to answer that question.” I said that their attorney is apparently sure that he either can’t or won’t identify his clients and may press for an answer. Godwin said, “Campbell and Lane will not want him to do that.” That’s all Linda and I wanted to hear. If their attorney didn’t press, then ours would. Linda and I felt certain that Campbell and Lane were finally going to be identified as the killers
Monday morning, the witnesses were escorted to the witness room, including Linda and Godwin. I was allowed to sit at counsel table. One after another, the character witnesses for Campbell and Lane paraded to the stand. By the end of the first day, the jury had heard hours of testimony from Arkansas’s finest who simply couldn’t sing the praises of Campbell and Lane enough. The jury had made up their minds, and the wild tales of a scorned prosecutor and a bereaved mother were not going to convince them otherwise. I could see it in their faces, but I was comfortable. Godwin would take the stand the next day and after 12 years, the tide would forever turn.
We talked to Godwin that night, and he was ready. Tuesday morning, I was waiting in the hall for our boxes of files to be delivered when Godwin rushed up. I have never seen anyone fit the description “wild-eyed” more accurately. He asked if I had someone to follow him that morning. I replied, “No. Why?”
Godwin described someone in a white truck sitting across the street when he left his house. He said the driver was talking on a radio and deliberately being obvious about following him. Godwin said, “I think it was intended as a message, and I got it loud and clear.” I told Godwin to go to the witness room and I’d come talk to him. Once I had our files in place, I headed for the witness room. Godwin nearly ran over me leaving. He said, “They’ve released me and I’m going home to my family.” I said, “Ronnie, we need you to testify for us. Can I see you tonight?” He said, “yes” as he rushed away.
Campbell and Lane took the stand that morning and played the part of two falsely-accused, horribly-defamed, victims. Our attorney got them to admit they had subpoenaed a purported eyewitness to the murders and then released him, but that was all the jury got to hear about our star witness’s disappearance, and disappear he did.
Linda and I flew out of the courtroom that evening to find Godwin, but his sister said he was gone and she didn’t expect he’d be back. Our attorney hired an investigator to look for him throughout the remainder of the trial, but he was not found.
Our attorney argued that we should be able to explain to the jury the facts surrounding Godwin’s disappearance, but the judge disallowed it as hearsay. The best Linda and I could do was explain to the jury that Godwin was a credible witness who could identify Campbell and Lane, but his glaring absence without explanation was too damaging. From there, our testimony must have sounded like the rantings of two unstable women, particularly when I tried to explain the ties Campbell had to Dan Lasater and that Lasater was a major drug trafficker rather than a mere “recreational distributor” as reported by the media.
Clearly, Campbell and Lane were not going to be pegged the killers, but the trial was not lost at that point. To win the law suit, the plaintiffs had to show that Pat Matrisciana acted with reckless disregard for the truth by naming Campbell and Lane as suspects in the murders. That would not have been possible if John Brown had testified truthfully, but he didn’t. He testified that he never considered Campbell and Lane to be suspects and warned Pat not to name them in the video.
Brown was telling a bald-faced lie, and Linda and I were prepared to crucify him with a recording of him admitting otherwise and with a dozen witnesses who would testify he was lying. Pat and our attorney, however, visited Brown before the trial, and Brown convinced them he was going to straighten everything out when he got on the stand. I vehemently warned Pat that we had to be ready to impeach Brown’s testimony, but Pat felt like I was “being too emotional” and my “ability to make good decisions was clouded.” I have to admit, that I flew into a rage at that point, trying to persuade our attorney to see it my way. However, Pat was his client, and I was ignored. That was the nail that sealed our coffin.
We were hopeful the judge would overturn the verdict, but his written decision was primarily based on John Brown’s testimony. He felt the jury was reasonable to believe that Brown warned Pat, and that Pat acted with reckless disregard for ignoring him. Since we introduced absolutely nothing at trial to negate Brown’s lies, we are left with little or nothing upon which to base an appeal and will likely lose there also
.Although we lost another round, we have seen that in time the truth has a way of surfacing. I can wait.
Update: February 24, 2000
See PART ONE, “Mike’s Friend”
Achieved Updates, Section 1
By Linda Ives
I had collected bits and pieces of the Arkansas State Police Report for years, and in the summer of 1997, I decided that I needed to get a complete copy. I was outraged, but undeterred, when I was told that the cost of the report was over $500.00!
Jean and I spent the summer of 1997 scrutinizing it word by word. There were dozens and dozens of interviews where information was related by a witness but absolutely no follow-up investigation on the information was ever conducted.
What we found to be the most interesting was interviews relating to a witness that I had heard about for years. It stood out from the others because it appeared to be the only interview where there wasn’t any follow up, but it was obvious that rather than try to corroborate information given by the witness, the state police had gone to great lengths to discredit the witness!
The witness was Ronnie Godwin who stated that he had observed two police officers beat up two boys at the Ranchette Grocery Store the night Kevin and Don were killed.
Jean and I located Godwin and he reluctantly agreed to talk to us. Eleven years after the murders, Godwin’s statements to us were identical to the statements he had given the state police years earlier.
Jean and I were impressed by his demeanor and tended to believe him despite the fact that he had been labeled a lying alcoholic by the state police. In our opinion, it would have been impossible for him to remember the incident with such detail and clarity if he had made it up years ago.
Also included in the state police report were purported interviews of Godwin’s mother, sister and girlfriend in which they were reported to have said that “when Ronnie drinks he tells lies.”
We knew, however, that when Godwin was interviewed by the state police in 1988, he had been in jail in Pine Bluff for a couple of weeks and was stone cold sober.
We contacted Ronnie’s mother to discuss her statements to the state police about Ronnie. She told us that she had never, ever been interviewed by the state police and would gladly testify to that under oath. She was also certain that neither Godwin’s sister nor his girlfriend had been interviewed by the state police. She had, however, made similar statements to the county grand jury. She also verified that Ronnie had been clean and sober for 3 years. By this time, it was obvious that the state police had “manufactured” interviews of witnesses to discredit Ronnie Godwin.
Ronnie told us that while driving home in the early morning hours after leaving Gigi’s (a local private night club), as he passed the Ranchette grocery store, he saw two police officers beating the boys. The area is rural and the store was closed at that hour. Because Godwin had been drinking and had several prior DWI arrests, he feared being arrested again. Rather than turning in front of the store to go to his house, he drove on by and pulled into a lot behind a row of cargo trailers, and watched as the cops continued to beat the boys and throw them into the back of their unmarked car.
Godwin further stated that they drove across the intersection and up a dirt road which went up Alexander Mountain. Godwin knew that the road dead ended in the woods after about a quarter of a mile, so he stayed put knowing they would have to come back down that way. After about 15 minutes, the two police officers came back down and then drove toward the direction of the railroad tracks.
Godwin told us that the next morning he heard about the boys being found on the tracks, but given his frequent trouble with the law, he was not about to go around telling what he saw. After showing Godwin all of the interviews relating to the incident he witnessed, Godwin vehemently stated that he had not told ANYONE what he had witnessed that day and stated that the state police’s claims that they had received an anonymous tip about him having information was absolutely impossible. He believes that the two officers that killed the boys saw him as he passed by the store and recognized his car.
Another state police interview states that Richard Garrett, who was Dan Harmon’s side-kick rushed over to interview Godwin a second time. It would seem that officials were taking Godwin’s statements seriously. As it turned out, they were only serious about discrediting Godwin.
Following the interviews with Godwin there was no attempt to identify the cops Godwin saw. No photos of local officers or unmarked cars were shown to him, no check of officers in the area that night who fit the description, no check for traces of blood or other evidence in the back of any unmarked cars, no investigation of the phone booth (which had been removed by that time) — nothing — except an all out effort to discredit the witness.
Godwin told police that he did not remember the date of the incident, however , he knew it was on a weekend that he had been off the previous week. In an effort to pinpoint the date of the incident that Godwin witnessed, the state police say that he told them it had occurred while he was taking time off from his employment with Trac-Work, Inc. of Little Rock and after his arrival home from Lone Star Air Force Base. Godwin denies telling them it was before or after any of his job sites — just that it was the week end when he was off work the prior week.
According to Godwin’s payroll records, the only week that he did not work a full week was the week ending August 22, 1987. That was the weekend of the Saturday night that Kevin and Don were killed, and this corroborates rather than contradicts his statement to police.
To further discredit Godwin’s statements, the state police fabricated interviews with his mother, sister and girlfriend stating that when Ronnie drinks, Ronnie lies.
Jean and I showed Godwin the state police interview with Mike Crook, manager of Gigi’s. Crook told the state police that the morning the boys were found, a Mexican-looking man came to the door saying he needed a drink.
Crook said the man identified himself only as Jerry. Jerry told Crook he had been sitting across from the Ranchette Grocery store waiting to catch his wife with another man, when three boys drove up to the store on a motorcycle. Two boys got off and the cyclist left. (Jean and I believe this was Keith Coney — (Phyllis Cournan told me that the FBI had verified that Coney had been with the boys that night, and also, Coney had told his mother that he knew too much about Kevin and Don’s murders and was afraid for his life. Coney was killed in 1988 in a motorcycle crash while being chased by unknown persons.)
According to Crook, Jerry told him he saw two cops drive up, confront the boys, beat them up, throw them in the back seat of their car and drive off.
Crook convinced Jerry to go to Sheriff James Steed with his story. Three months later, Jerry came back to GiGi’s and told Crook that Steed had him thrown in jail for 90 days for failure to pay child support. Jerry said that when Steed let him out, he was told to leave town, and according to Jerry, he was on his way to California.
Even though it is obvious on the face of the reports that Godwin and Jerry are two different people, there is a final report closing the Godwin interviews that simply states that Ronnie Godwin and Jerry are one and the same person. There is no explanation for the variations in the statements of Godwin and Jerry. Nobody even bothered to ask Godwin if he had ever been jailed for back child support until we did. He had not, and in fact, he has always had custody of his only child.
Godwin scoffed at the state police report saying he and Jerry were one and the same person. He stated that that was absurd since he is a member of Gigi’s and that he and Crook knew each other — in fact, Crook had been married to his cousin at one time.
Before we left, Jean and I pressed for a better description of the cops. Godwin balked. It was obvious he knew who they were, so I asked point-blank: “Were the police officers Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane?” Godwin said “I refuse to answer that question”. I said, “you just did. If it hadn’t been Campbell and Lane, you wouldn’t have minded saying so.” From that point on, when we discussed the incident, it was with the understanding that we all knew who the cops were. Godwin later told us that he knew Kirk Lane from when Lane was at Benton Police Department but only later came to know who Campbell was.
When Jean and I talked to Godwin the second time, he stated he remembered another car sitting across the road in a vacant lot. He said there was a person sitting low in the driver’s seat and he described the car as a dark-colored classic Camaro.
Jean then located Mike Crook in federal prison in Texarkana on drug charges. She made arrangements to visit him, and Crook had no trouble recalling the incident with Jerry. Crook confirmed the statements he made to the state police and also confirmed that Jerry and Ronnie Godwin were not the same person. Jean pressed Crook to remember anything he could and asked if he knew what kind of car Jerry was driving.
Crook stated that the bar was closed and he was cleaning up when Jerry knocked on the door. Crook said he saw Jerry’s car in the otherwise empty parking lot when he let Jerry in. He sated it was a blue, early ’60s Camaro with chrome wheels — not a car a male would forget. Jean asked if the blue color was light or dark. He said dark.
Crook stated in state police interview that before Keith McKaskle was murdered, McKaskle told him that Kirk Lane and Jay Campbell were following him around and he was afraid they were going to kill him. Crook further stated that his son was at the club and someone called and said McKaskle is dead and you are next and then later shots were fired into his house When he looked out he saw the a car like the one Kirk Lane drove going down the road from his house. Crook also told state police that after McKaskle was killed, Lane and Campbell shot up his house.
This jury was not allowed to see this part of the state police report, nor were they allowed to see or hear a multitude of other information about the reputation of Campbell and Lane. The judge ruled such evidence as “too prejudicial”.
The Kirk Lane Jay Campbell Defamation Trial
I have collected a number of documents over the years which relate information about Campbell and Lane which only served to reinforce my belief that Campbell and Lane are dirty cops capable of anything, including murder. For years, Campbell and Lane have used intimidation tactics and violent threats against witnesses and anyone else who got in their way. Campbell’s firing this week proves what Jean and I have been telling anyone who would listen – we were right about Harmon and we’re right about Campbell and Lane.
The evidence the jury was not allowed to see, because it was “too prejudicial.”
Affidavits gather by R. David Lewis, who was the defense attorney hired by Troy Warner when he was busted for dealing drugs. Some of the affidavits are from several witnesses that were to testify for Warner. The threats and intimidations got so bad that Lewis gathered the affidavits and went to the FBI to complain that it was becoming impossible for him to defend his client. One of the affidavits is from Lewis’s paralegal who was terrorized by Campbell and Lane. Two others are from folks who had nothing to do with the Troy Warner case; they just got in the way; one is a retired state police officer.
There are other affidavits from unrelated cases and sworn testimony from Teddy Carter that Kirk Lane was going to kill him. The FBI gave Carter $500 to get out of town.
Pam Cook’s 1988 diary entry states that Jay Campbell is a drug dealer’s “take care of it man” and describes intimidation tactics by Kirk Lane.
Interview of Glenda Raper (live-in friend of Keith McKaskle) stating that Keith learned Campbell was involved with the people involved in the murders.
Update: November 8, 1999
Sharline Wilson Granted Clemency
By Jean Duffey
Last month, Governor Huckabee published his intent to grant Sharline Wilson clemency. Once an intent is published, anyone who objects to a convict’s release has 30 days to lodge a protest with the governor. The usual objectors are the offender’s victims, the prosecutor, and the law enforcement agents of the county where the crime was committed.
In Sharline’s case, there were no victims, the prosecutor was Dan Harmon who is in federal prison for his own drug crimes, and the law enforcement agents in the county support her release. The sheriff and the chief of police each included affidavits in Sharline’s clemency application stating they believe her sentence was excessive and justice would be served if she is released.
Considering that Sharline would not have the usual protesters, we decided to keep the news of the governor’s intent as quiet as possible to prevent any waves from other possible protesters, like supporters of Bill Clinton. Although Sharline’s long-time advocates, Jane Chastain, who has a popular west coast talk-radio show, and Sarah Foster, who writes for WorldNetDaily, were notified about the governor’s intent, they agreed to hold the story for Sharline’s sake. They could, and should, have been the ones to break the story, but their concern for Sharline cost them the “scoop” which was reported Saturday by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Drudge Report.
Fortunately, the 30 days notice was up Friday, and Governor Huckabee commuted Sharline’s sentence to time served. As soon as her release papers make it through the bureaucratic channels, she will be freed. That should be within days.
In the meantime, Linda’s plight for justice continues. She did receive a shot in the arm when Mara Leveritt’s book, The Boys on the Tracks was released this month. The reviews have been better than even hoped for and the first-week sales have been promising. Mara has written an accurate and meticulously documented account of the tangled web of government corruption which has used its power to perpetuate a cover-up of the murders of Kevin and Don. The book explains how the Arkansas political machine works so that even the skeptical will understand.
Update: August 9, 1999
Sharline Wilson’s Chances for Clemency Likely Destroyed
By Jean Duffey
The jury is out. We rested Friday about 2:00 p.m.. The jury was given instructions and left to deliberate at 4:10. A little after 7:00, the judge asked if they wanted to continue or come back Monday. The majority wanted to stay, but two jurors voted to go home for the weekend.
This was, hands down, the most physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting week I have ever experienced. It will take many updates to explain what all has happened so far, but the bottom line is that we put on a defense for Pat that will assuredly be overturned on appeal if the jury does not rule in our favor.
Pat’s attorney, John Wesley Hall, was brilliant, and I defy anyone who watched the trial to disagree. Few outsiders could have had a command of the extremely complicated and convoluted facts of this case, but John maneuvered through them as if the story was his own. His incredibly eloquent closing argument sent chills down my spine and brought tears to Linda’s eyes. It is a sheer work of art that will be posted on our website. We will obtain a copy of the transcript disc as soon as it is available.
I might also mention that Joseph Farah testified as Pat’s expert witness, and the team of Farrah and Hall was a thrill to behold. That exchange will also be posted. Pat is blessed to have had these two masterful advocates in his corner. Also, it was an honor and a privilege for me to meet Joseph.
The subject of this update, however, is one of some urgency. Before trial, John Brown called John Hall and said he would “fix” his affidavit. He said the statements in the affidavit were half-truths, and that when he got on the stand, he would explain the rest of each one. In the first place, the statements were out-and-out lies. There was no “half-truth” to any of them. In the second place, I reminded Pat and John Hall that we’d be better off trusting the devil himself. And just as I predicted, John Brown got on the stand, took an oath to tell the truth, and squirmed through a bunch of pathetic, nonsensical crap.
He sounded like a slobbering drunk trying to convince a police officer that he’s sober. I think it’s safe to say that both sides feel the same way about John Brown, but he damaged Pat’s defense much more than he hurt the plaintiffs.
John Brown also hurt Sharline Wilson. He, in fact, likely destroyed her chances of getting her clemency granted by the governor. In his false affidavit, John Brown said he warned Pat that there was no supporting evidence that Campbell and Lane were suspects in the murders, and that someone else had signed a confession (meaning Sharline). When John Brown took the witness stand, he attempted to explain what he meant in the affidavit enough to ward off a perjury charge, but nine-tenths of the words out his mouth were still lies. His affidavit and his testimony were attempts to detach himself from the statements in the video about Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane being suspects, when in fact, the statements are in the video because of him.
John Brown’s testimony was prominent news. Sharline was emotionally devastated when she heard on the news that night what happened and read it in the paper the next morning. John Brown has made her look like a killer. How can the governor grant her clemency now? The only thing I could tell her was that I would try to negate the damage through my testimony on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.
I had to tell a long and winding story when I took the stand, and I didn’t get to her “signed confession” until Friday morning. I testified that I first heard of the confession in early 1994, when FBI Agent Phyllis Cournan told me about it. My response was, “I don’t know why Sharline signed a confession, but I do know that she didn’t kill either of those boys. Knowing Sharline, my thought is she was yanking somebody’s chain.” To that, Cournan told me Sharline failed a polygraph test immediately after signing the confession. By this time I was involved in the case again, and visited Sharline in prison later that summer. Sharline said that she had been coerced and badgered by Brown and finally wrote what he wanted her to say, knowing that she was going to take a polygraph test and would fail. I also testified that I believe Sharline knows more than she has ever told. She was at the tracks that night, but the boys ran from the tracks, were killed at a grocery store, and taken back to the tracks.
On closing that afternoon, John Hall pointed out that John Brown was perfectly satisfied, even proud of, the video, until the law suit was filed. Brown had gone on radio all across the country promoting the video, obtained 350 copies of his own, and displayed them proudly during his campaign for sheriff. It wasn’t until the lawsuit was filed that he claimed to disapprove of the statements about Campbell and Lane, because there was a signed confession from Sharline. If Brown thought the confession had any merit at all, why would he champion Sharline’s release, which he did on several talk-radio programs? Why would he want a killer let lose?
I was hopeful that John Hall and I negated the damage to Sharline, although I knew the Democrat-Gazette would report it with diminished impact. I was wrong; the Dem-Gaz didn’t report it at all – not one word. I can’t believe I was even surprised, but I was, in fact, stunned. How could they report testimony that literally destroys a person, find out the testimony is false, and then not print the other side?
KARK Television station is interviewing Sharline on Monday. That is Little Rock’s NBC Affiliate, which is the station that tried very hard to negate some of the media smear against me in 1990. However, just like in 1990, the effectiveness of a three-minute report on one television station isn’t going to off-set the damage. I believe Sharline’s chances at clemency have been destroyed by the John Brown. To top off the injustice, John Brown will likely get by with his perjurious testimony that has hurt Pat’s defense, and in turn, has hurt Linda’s twelve-year-long struggle to expose the truth.
Sharline’s only chance is massive support. She needs letters, faxes, e-mails, and phone calls directly to Governor Huckabee. Explain to him what happened and ask him to please, please verify that John Brown perjured himself. Ask him to not punish Sharline because John Brown lied to distance himself from liability in the suit. This needs to be done immediately. It may also help to write letters to the editor of the Dem-Gaz, if you are a subscriber. If you do not get the paper, your requests or criticisms will not have weight.
I drove home Saturday morning and will be heading back this evening to await the verdict. There is no way to predict what a jury is going to collectively decide, but either way, I would stake the house and farm that we will win in the end (If they win, we will appeal. If we win, they will appeal). This is a first amendment case, and the plaintiffs did not meet their burden of showing Pat had reckless disregard for the truth by using Linda Ives and me as sources for the statements in video. We both made it very clear to the jury that we believe Campbell and Lane are the killers and our beliefs are based on years of studying the case, interviewing witnesses, and watching the government ignore the evidence. If the jury comes back with a verdict for the plaintiffs, it is far from over.
By the way, Pat still owes John Hall $25,000. I don’t know that another high-caliber attorney on the face of this earth who would have put his heart, mind, and soul into a trial like Hall before he had been paid his fee. Also, there will be an appeal filed from which ever side loses the verdict, taking another week out of John Hall’s practice. Pat continues to need financial help, which can be sent to The Kevin Ives Civil Justice Foundation at the below address.
So many of you have been so very generous for which Linda, Pat, and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If any of you has not gotten a thank-you reply, please know that every minute of the last few weeks have been filled with trial preparation. Also, your thoughts and prayers are clearly felt. I could not have gotten through the grill from their most-capable attorney’s cross examination without them.
Update: June 25, 1999
Justice is Closer
By Jean Duffey
Any hope of justice for Kevin and Don died in Linda Ives on November 29, 1995, when the FBI claimed that their investigation turned up “no evidence that a crime had even been committed.” Her optimism, however, was restored when the “train deaths” case found new life on the internet.
As the story of a bipartisan cover-up unfolded on our website, supporters throughout the internet took action on Linda’s behalf via phone calls, e-mails, faxes and letters, and changes began to take place – Dan Harmon went to prison, I.C.Smith was ousted, and Linda is about to have her first day in court.
When money became an obstacle, I reached out through the internet and asked for help to raise $50,000 to get the law suit against our video through the trial phase. Once again, supporters took action and in the weeks after my June 1 Update, $12,000 has been raised to pay Pat’s attorney. We still have a long way to go, but Linda is closer now to seeing some measure of justice than since she buried Kevin’s mutilated body.
We are especially grateful to the Free Republic Forum , where an enormous out-pouring of emotional and financial support was generated. FR discussion is an excellent gauge for us to measure the strength of the case we make against our government’s involvement in drugs, corruption, and cover-up. Although conservative by nature, FR members have a non-partisan vengeance for the truth and are not easily detracted.
Linda and I wish to thank everyone who has pledged and/or sent donations. We are optimistic of raising the remaining $38,000 by trial which begins August 2, but we need your continued help. If you intended to send a check but have not gotten around to putting it in the mail, you can make a credit card contribution on the links below where our Obstruction of Justice video can also be ordered.
The words “thank you” are not adequate to express our heart-felt gratitude, but they are most sincerely offered.
Update: June 2, 1999
Recapping Twelve Years
By Jean Duffey
August 23, 1987, the parents of Kevin Ives, 17, and Don Henry, 16, learned their sons were dead. They had been run over by a train. Too mutilated to be embalmed, their gathered-up body parts were put into a body bag, sprinkled with a preserver, and laid in a casket.
Getting through the funerals was all the parents could manage. It was at least comforting to leave the matters of determining the cause of the tragedy to public officials. After they buried their sons, the parents learned that State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak ruled the deaths accidental and Saline County Sheriff James Steed said the evidence supported the ruling. Crippled with pain and rooted in trust for law enforcement, the parents tried to accept the ruling, but quickly began to realize the facts didn’t add up.
The parents demanded and got the bodies exhumed and second autopsies were performed by out-of-state forensic experts who reported the signs of murder were clear. Circuit Judge John Cole appointed Attorney Dan Harmon as Special Prosecutor to head a county grand jury to investigate the homicides. Malak and Steed were glitches, the parents thought, in an otherwise reliable system of a free society.
Confident in Harman’s honorable intentions, Linda Ives turned her energy to remove Malak and Steed from office. Saline County voters agreed that Steed was no longer fit to be sheriff, and he was defeated in the next election.
Malak, however, was steadfastly supported by Governor Bill Clinton and was not removed in spite of his incompetence in numerous cases being exposed. Linda did not understand, but that would not interfere with Harman’s investigation. Even better, the Arkansas State Police were now involved.
The first year was difficult, and when the grand jury probe ended in December, 1988, without solving the murders, the parents were discouraged. Linda took heart, however, that Harmon vowed to continue searching for answers and that the state police were still investigating. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was looking into public official corruption in Saline County, including Steed’s cover-up of the murders. Evidence from the new sheriff and the state police was being presented to a federal grand jury, and Dan Harmon had been elected the district prosecutor. Linda was once again encouraged.
Then she learned that a newly formed drug task force had targeted Dan Harmon as a suspected drug dealer. This, she thought, was confounding the entire federal probe.
The task force was, of course, the one I had been appointed to run. My officers and I realized early on that the forces in Saline County were entrenched in the drug trade. We knew our only hope of survival was the federal grand jury, but that investigation was eventually thwarted by U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks when he held a press conference in June, 1991, to clear Dan Harmon and all other Saline County officials. I was fired, my task force replaced with Harman’s cronies, and Judge Cole ordered me to turn over all my evidence to Harmon. When I refused, Cole issued felony warrants for my arrest. I was defeated, discredited, and professionally destroyed, so my husband and I moved our family to Texas where we became school teachers.
Linda Ives did not know, at the time, that my task force’s investigation included the murders of Kevin and Don, and I did not know that by the time I left the state, Linda knew Harmon was part of the cover-up of the murders. It was not until 1994 that we met, shared information, and realized that the corruption and cover-up expanded beyond the county and state levels. We had each been contacted by the FBI after an eye witness came forward and passed a polygraph test placing Dan Harmon on the tracks with Kevin and Don the night they were murdered. Linda and I were more encouraged than ever before. We had complete confidence in the FBI.
By late 1994, we learned that Kevin and Don were murdered by law enforcement officials because they stumbled upon a drug drop from an airplane. We learned there was a bi-partisan cover-up because the drugs were part of a Mena, Arkansas drug smuggling operation. And we learned that Mena drug smuggling was conducted by CIA operatives to help support the Nicaraguan freedom fighters. In short, Mena was set up by Oliver North under the approval of Vice President George Bush and the protection of Governor Bill Clinton. To solve the murders of Kevin and Don would be to expose Mena, and Linda and I knew that was not going to happen.
As soon as the Mena connection was made, I knew the FBI investigation would be shut down. The agent argued; “Who has the power to shut down the FBI.” My response; “Who, indeed.” (Bill Clinton was president by this time.) Not only was the FBI case closed, Linda and Larry Ives were told there was no evidence that a crime had even been committed.
It’s impossible to express in words the feelings Linda and I had when we realized that, in spite of knowing who murdered two innocent children, the government was going to protect the killers to prevent exposing the participation of two presidents in a drug smuggling operation. The only recourse we had was to expose it ourselves.
My brother, Mark Keesee, created our website which quickly became popular on the internet. We contacted film-maker Pat Matrisciana, who had once offered to make a documentary of the murders and cover-ups. He produced and marketed “Obstruction of Justice; the Mena Connection.” Linda and I spent the summer of 1996 telling the story and promoting the video on talk-radio. We received enough income from the proceeds of the video to obtain documents, continue our own investigation, and finance our website which has become a massive source of information.
We were reaching significant numbers of people in spite of being ignored by mainstream media and we were having an effect. We applied pressure to the FBI who was forced to open another investigation of Harmon after his illegal activities became blatant. Harmon is now serving an eleven-year sentence in federal prison. We put Head FBI Agent I.C. Smith in the precarious position of justifying an 18-month-long FBI investigation of a crime they said was not even committed. Smith was forced into early retirement. Finally, the popularity of the video forced Campbell and Lane to defend themselves against the allegations made against them. In the first week of August, we will have the opportunity to present evidence to a jury. Mainstream media will not be able to ignore the finding of the jury and the government will have to explain why they have ignored prove of the crimes – we are, of course, confident of winning the suit.
Aside from obtaining our primary goal of exposing the murders and cover-ups, it is particularly satisfying that our non-partisan plea for justice is opening the eyes of people who once had blind-partisan-faith. A typical e-mail came from Doug Jones, who, after reading “A Study In Conspiracy” from our website, wrote: “Your article has me worried! I was initially convinced that the reports of Clinton wrong-doings were complete fantasy, or attributable to the work of hatchet-grinding ideologues. . . but now. . . I’m seeing a frighteningly repetitive theme. . . .” Another reader, Lisa Ashkenaz Croke sent me an e-mail that was so moving, I asked her to write a guest editorial which she entitles “What a Difference a Day Makes.”
It is for the thousands of supporters who have believed in our message from day one, it is for the Doug’s and Lisa’s who have been reached by our message, and it is for those who still think the American system of justice is reliable that we will keep up our crusade for truth.
Update: June 6, 1999
A Plea for Funding
by Jean Duffey
This is a difficult update for me to write. It is a plea for money to support our federal law suit that is going to trial the first week in August. We have been able to finance our website and support a continued investigation of the murders of Kevin and Don with donations from supporters and with proceeds from the sale of our video “Obstruction of Justice: The Mena Connection” (we receive 2% of the sales). When the funds are short, we cover the expenses personally. We are adamantly opposed to making one penny profit from anything associated with the story. There is almost nothing we dread more than having to ask for money, but we are financially in our most desperate hour. We are $50,000 short of financing the upcoming trial.
The expose below is a recap of the events which have brought us to the brink of realizing justice for Kevin and Don. A year after the release of “Obstruction,” Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane sued our video’s producer, Pat Matrisciana, for naming them as suspects in the murders. Linda and I welcomed the suit as an opportunity to put evidence into public record and get the facts before a jury. After depositions last summer, each party filed motions for summary judgment and argued several points of law. We flew over that hurdle with a ruling from the judge in our favor on every point of law. The last hurdle is the jury trial which is scheduled to begin on August 2. We are absolutely confident in our case and look forward to presenting our evidence to the jurors.
Our only obstacle is financing. Pat has run out of money and does not have the last $50,000. A mere $50,000 – not very much compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for Paula Jones and Bill Clinton and the millions spent by Kenneth Starr. The amount seems even more insignificant when compared to what a favorable ruling will accomplish. Not only will we realize some measure of justice for Kevin and Don, the Mena cover-up will unravel.
Please help us realize the most important opportunity for justice in the nearly twelve years since Kevin and Don were murdered to protect a government-sanctioned drug operation. Mainstream media is perpetuating the cover-up, and if we have to default for lack of money, they will never let us recover. On the other hand, if we can get through the trial, they will not be able to ignore the findings of a federal judge and jury.
Please don’t think that a small contribution of $5 or $10 won’t be appreciated. The truth is, we’d rather have $5 from 10,000 supporters than $50,000 from one. E-mailing and faxing I.C. Smith and Paula Casey has made a difference, telling others about our website has strengthened our support, and keeping us in your prayers has given us heart. Now, what I have always considered to be the least important factor in our purpose – money – has become the most important factor.
Please help if you possibly can. Make checks payable to the The Kevin Ives Civil Justice Foundation and mail to:
The Kevin Ives Civil Justice Foundation
Bryant, AR. 72022
Update: January 19, 1999
By Jean Duffey
It has been nearly four months since my last update, but there hasn’t been much to report since we filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in the law suit against our video. While awaiting a ruling, I turned my attention to the disgusting charade being played out in Washington. There truly is a spirit of bipartisanship among the participants, but it is a bipartisan conspiracy to cover-up real crimes. My outrage with all involved – Bill Clinton, Kenneth Starr, and every member of Congress – is also “bipartisan.”
Several years ago, I met a reporter, I’ll call Charlie. He is now investigating for CNBC’s Geraldo Rivera — running down fraudulent activities of “right-wing conspirators.” Charlie contacted me last summer when he found my name all over the expense account of one Tom Golden, an investigator for Richard Mellon Scaife. Golden claimed several dinners with me in Houston, Dallas, and Hot Springs and a breakfast in a high-dollar hotel in Dallas. The fact is, I talked with Golden twice on the phone and never met him.
While I am offended by Golden’s lying and cheating, I am sickened by the amount of money thrown away by Scaife to dig up dirt on Clinton, irrespective of the credibility of his sources. If Linda and I had a fraction of Scaife’s money and resources, the “train deaths” would be solved, George Bush and the CIA would be labeled the gun-running/drug-smuggling operators they are, and Bill Clinton would be defending himself against irrefutably impeachable crimes for his participation as the protector of the Mena operation. But Scaife is obviously not interested in seeking truth and justice; his interest is purely partisan politics.
Charlie called again last month, asking about a video he had seen of me speaking with legislators in Congressman Bob Livingston’s office. The meeting was in the fall of 1994. Pat Matrisciana had tried to persuade me to tell of my Arkansas experiences on a new production that was to become “The Clinton Chronicles.” I refused to go public while still working with the FBI, but Pat persuaded me that his Republican friends in D.C. should hear about Saline County Prosecutor Dan Harmon running a criminal enterprise, U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks receiving a federal judgeship nomination after clearing Harmon, and the FBI confirming the connection between the “train deaths” and Mena drugs
I sat in Livingston’s office with Pat and John Brown. Several Congressmen and Senators’ aides filed in and sat across from us. I spoke first and highlighted my story in about 15 minutes. When I was through, Livingston asked, “But what do you know about Bill Clinton.” I said, “Other than an informant’s testimony to a federal grand jury that Clinton snorted cocaine, nothing.” At that point, the attention turned to John Brown, who mouthed a lot of gibberish about Clinton and the Mafia – expounding on tales he had heard but possessed no evidence of. After Brown wound down, I asked why none of them were interested in the cover-up of Mena crimes. Livingston said that Barry Seal was dead and the drug smuggling operation died with him. I tried to argue, but was cut off and ushered out of the office.
After relating the story to Charlie, I asked what he knew about Congressman Leach’s long-anticipated report on Mena. Charlie told me he has a friend close to the House investigation who told him the report was not to be released. “Why?” I demanded. Charlie’s source told him, “The investigation exposes two Presidents as primarily responsible for the Mena operation, and one of them is not Bill Clinton.”
The way I see it, our illustrious leaders from both sides of the aisle are nothing more than a bunch of hypocritical, egotistical, amoral, ranting fools – and that is likely an understatement. They will go down in history as sex-scandal mongers who ignored and denied real crimes to protect their own. Kenneth Starr is no better. As early as 1995, Starr’s investigation linked the 1987 murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry to the Mena operation and linked Clinton to its cover-up.
The harsh fact is, Mena was a bipartisan operation and will continue to receive bipartisan protection. There is a complete lack of concern for what we, the people, want. Virtually powerless, Linda Ives is left to seek accountability in civil court, because the government won’t seek justice in criminal court
Linda, however, is one step closer in her quest. We received a ruling on the motions filed by both parties in the suit against our video, and we are most pleased. Although it would have been in Pat Matrisciana’s best interest for the judge to dismiss the suit, the ruling was as good as it could get for Linda’s interest. The judge ruled in our favor on every point of law argued in both briefs. The plaintiffs’ motion to exclude evidence was denied as was their motion for summary judgment.
Pat’s motion for dismissal was denied because of factual disputes in the record – namely, John Brown telling one story and everyone else on Pat’s side telling another. John will now have to take the stand on risk of perjury. For the first time, after more than eleven years since the murders, a jury will hear evidence of the cover-ups perpetuated by the State Police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the FBI. Linda will finally see the evidence put before twelve citizens — people not involved in politics, corruption, or cover-ups.
A trial has been scheduled for July 26, 1999.
August 18, 2018
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Arkansas Mom’s Motion in Bid to Unseal Files Says DEA Hiding Crimes
By Linda Satter
A federal judge shouldn’t reconsider ordering the Drug Enforcement Agency to open up some tightly guarded, decades-old documents for viewing by a Benton woman who hopes they will reveal clues about her son’s 1987 death, her attorney argued Friday.
There is no evidence that a source who provided information that was recorded in the documents in 1983 and 1995 was assured confidentiality from eventual disclosure, attorney R. David Lewis of Little Rock wrote in response to the DEA’s request earlier this week that Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Miller reconsider his Aug. 2 order.
After privately reviewing several documents that the agency withheld from Linda Ives in response to multiple Freedom of Information Act requests she submitted over a period of years, Miller found that parts of two investigative reports should have been turned over to Ives.
While the DEA claimed all the withheld information was exempt from disclosure, Miller said his review, in response to a federal lawsuit Ives filed, showed that the agency didn’t provide Ives with “all reasonably segregable information.”
He ordered the agency to submit to his court by Friday a proposed method of redacting the exempt parts from the non-exempt parts. He said he would review the DEA’s proposal and then decide to either release the information as the DEA suggests or come up with his own method of segregating out the protected information, and give the DEA a chance to object.
On Tuesday, however, the DEA asked him to reconsider, arguing that the release of the information could endanger confidential informants or law enforcement agents even decades after the reports were written. The DEA appears to contend that the confidential information is too entwined with any nonconfidential information to be adequately segregated.
Lewis scoffed at that suggestion, arguing Friday, “It is much more likely that the government wants to conceal this report because it shows that the government was engaged in illegal trafficking of guns and narcotics which would be politically embarrassing and would require criminal prosecutions of government employees.”
Ives’ son, 17-year-old Kevin Ives, and his friend, 16-year-old Don Henry, died early Aug. 23, 1987. Their bodies were found on a remote stretch of railroad in Saline County after they were run over by a 4:25 a.m. train.
Though the state medical examiner said they died while in a deep, marijuana-induced sleep on the railroad tracks, an out-of-state pathologist determined they were killed before their bodies were placed on the tracks, where an engineer saw them lying motionless side by side, partially covered by a tarp, unresponsive to the train’s horn, just before the train passed over them.
Lewis argued Friday that the documents also “may show that Barry Seal was acting at the request of the United States government which would be embarrassing to the government.”
Seal was a notorious pilot who flew in and out of the Mena Airport in Polk County in the 1980s, and testified in 1985 that he had smuggled tons of cocaine from Colombia to drop zones in the Louisiana swamps. The man who was suspected of being an informant for the DEA was killed in an execution-style shooting in 1986 in his hometown of Baton Rouge.
Rumors abounded after the boys’ deaths that they may have been killed after stumbling across an illegal drug drop in the area, where low-flying planes had been seen. Newspaper articles, a book and a documentary have all hinted that the deaths could have been related to an undercover government operation in which Seal had been involved.
Because of speculation about possible links between Seal and the boys’ deaths, Ives requested information from several government agencies pertaining to both her son and Seal’s activities.
On Thursday, Miller denied a request from attorneys for the DEA to give them extra time to turn in their suggested ways for segregating the exempt and non-exempt material. Even though the DEA argued that there is no non-exempt information to supply, Miller insisted that the DEA turn over the requested information to his court by Friday.
Miller wasn’t in his office Friday, and it couldn’t be determined whether the DEA had submitted anything to his office.
On Thursday, an order in the court file said that the DEA’s suggested redactions will be held in Miller’s office until the pending motion for reconsideration is decided.
In the response filed Friday, Lewis wrote, “This requestor is not interested in the names of the informants but is interested in what happened. Further, since this information dates from 1983, three years before Barry Seal was murdered and four years before Kevin Ives was murdered, this requestor cannot imagine that this information has anything to do with the murders of Barry Seal and Kevin Ives but only has to do with the illegal actions of the government, which should be public information under the Freedom of Information Act. This requestor has a right to that information whether it pertains to the death of Kevin Ives or not.”
In late November, Miller dismissed most of the other defendants Ives had named in the lawsuit: the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, the State Department, the FBI, the Arkansas State Police, the Saline County sheriff’s office and the Bryant Police Department.
In his Aug. 2 order, the judge also dismissed the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, leaving only the DEA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as defendants, the latter because Miller said an electronic search the agency conducted in response to Ives’ records request wasn’t done right. It isn’t known if the agency might have any information related to Ives or Seal because the agency wasn’t created until Jan. 24, 2003.
Update: April 17, 1998
When Good Guys go Bad
John Brown: With Friends Like Him, Who Needs Enemies
By Jean Duffey
When I sat down to write this update, the line “then along came Mary” from an oldies hit kept running through my head.
The first person on the case was Saline County Sheriff James Steed who was joined by State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak. Together they contrived the ridiculous scenario that Kevin Ives and Don Henry smoked so much marijuana they fell asleep in front of a train.
Then along came Dan Harmon who Linda believed for years was her knight in shining armor. His 1988 grand jury investigation resulted in the deaths of several witnesses, and by late 1990, Linda realized Harmon had controlled the investigation to cover up his own involvement in the murders.
Then along came State Police Investigator Barney Phillips, who complained from the onset that he “did not want to have anything to do with the case because I don’t want to step on toes of people I with.” He, in fact, not only did nothing to advance the investigation, Linda and I found reports he fabricated.
Then along came State Police Detective Don Birdsong. No bells went off at the time, but Linda later reflected that his entire effort was at the direction of Harmon. When Birdsong withdrew from the case, he was appointed the prestigious position of state police liaison to Governor’s office.
Then along came Phyllis Cournan, the zealous FBI agent who put her heart and soul into the investigation for 18 months. But when the inevitable connection to Mena was made, Cournan sided with her superiors’ decision to shut the investigation down, because, they told Linda and Larry, “there is no evidence a crime was committed.”
Linda has been dealt one blow after another from the beginning of what we so impersonally call the “train deaths” case. To Linda, it all began with the worst news a mother can hear: her child is dead. And as the numbness of grief wore off, she found herself battling a cover-up that began on the tracks that night.
It has been hard, but Linda always manages to pick herself up and forge ahead. After the FBI delivered its own brand of indignities, she drew strength from knowing she had a cop on her side who professed undying devotion. John Brown was a new deputy in Saline County in 1992 and was assigned to work the case. He won Linda’s confidence, and even when red flags went up about some of Brown’s investigative techniques, she always defended him saying: “I know his heart’s in the right place.”
With Brown at her side, she decided to push forward the production of “Obstruction of Justice,” our video telling about the seven investigations that have been thwarted. Linda wanted John to be part of the video, and he happily agreed. I also agreed but only if Linda and I were given editorial control over our own stories. Pat Matrisciana, the videos producer, complied and gave John the same consideration.
Sometime during the editing phase, John Brown told Pat’s editor that two cops named Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane killed the boys. This was written into the narrator’s script and sent to Linda and me. Our first inclination was not to name names, but after stewing over it a few days, we decided to reword the statement to “Witnesses have implicated . . . Jay Campbell, Kirk Lane . . . .” This we knew we could prove.
A year after the video was released, Campbell and Lane filed a law suit. Linda was thrilled; not that Pat had been sued, but that she could obtain information during discovery that would never otherwise be made available to her. Pat said on a radio interview; “When notice of the suit was served, you’d have thought Jean and Linda were opening Christmas presents.”
The case got under way last month with their attorney taking Pat’s deposition, during which Pat explained how the names came to be in the video. Pat’s attorney thought his deposition went well and prepared for Linda’s deposition April 3, which also went well. Pat’s attorney scheduled me for a deposition, but they declined the offer to set John’s. We didn’t know why until we talked to Pat that evening.
John had already met Campbell and his attorney behind Pat’s back. Pat said he admonished John for meeting with them without his attorney being present, but John claimed he knew how to handle himself. Linda was skeptical but did not want to think the worst. Unfortunately, neither of us could have anticipated just how bad the worst could be.
During my deposition of April 8, a reference to an affidavit was made. Our attorney asked for a copy which was handed to him on the way out. Linda and I were unable to move when the elevator door opened.
John Brown had turned. The sworn affidavit he signed made that abundantly clear. (affidavit transcription)
We are all reeling from the shock and scrambling to combat the damage. We have no explanation, but I’ll be writing updates as information develops. For now, all that comes to mind is, “then along came John Brown.” As for Linda; I asked her yesterday how she felt. She closed her eyes, shook her head, and said; “I’ve come to expect it.” We both fought back tears.
Update: December 5, 1997
The Unreported Story
By Jean Duffey
When Bill Clinton stood outside the Old State House in Little Rock to announce his candidacy for President, Linda Ives was there. She positioned herself where she could easily be seen by all, and she held up a sign that read, “Clinton for President, Malak for Surgeon General.” The media ignored her, but the Secret Service watched her closely.
Linda cried when Clinton was elected. She had been battling the powers of state government for five years searching for accountability for Kevin’s murder, and now one of her opponents was the President of the United States. If this was supposed to be intimidating, it wasn’t – Linda Ives is the mother of a murdered child and nothing is more fearless.
The unexpected benefit of Clinton becoming president was the international interest in Arkansas scandals that surround him, including the “train deaths.” Linda had always been willing to talk with anyone who would listen. She didn’t care if they were from the right or from the left or from Mars. Linda told the same story which had previously been embraced by the liberal Arkansas media, but that was before they had a home-grown president to take care of.
One of the reporters who contacted Linda was Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. He was the Washington D.C. bureau chief for the London Sunday Telegraph. He listened to Linda’s story and, as did many other reporters, he wrote about it. But Ambrose was different. He wasn’t interested in reporting about a string of scandals. He wanted to know connections and common factors. He wanted to understand the big picture. So he worked, and studied, and researched. His reporting was so well founded, he became “the reporter most feared by the White House.”
Ambrose was not only interested in gathering information, he was generous about sharing information. When the FBI opened their own investigation of the “train deaths” and persuaded me to get involved, Ambrose and I communicated regularly. He is one of the few outsiders who has a complete understanding of Saline County corruption, and believe me, that is no simple accomplishment. His knowledge became so thorough, he was able to recognize useful information when he ran across it. He would pass it on to me which I would, of course, share with Linda and the FBI.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with Ambrose in the D.C. Press Club one evening in the summer of 1994. Hobnobbing with the elite does not have much appeal to me, but I was impressed with the esteem most everyone who brushed by our table extended to Ambrose. Ambrose was not one of the Clinton-apologists, but he was obviously respected by them.
Ambrose is back in Europe, but he left us with a book he finished this summer. The name of it is “The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories.” It is divided into three sections: The Oklahoma Bombing, Vince Foster, and Come to Arkansas. Chapter 17, called Death Squad, is the Saline County story, and it is poignant. I have no personal knowledge of any other part of his book, but I do know the Saline County story, and Linda Ives and I vouch for the veracity of every word Ambrose wrote about us. There is nothing more important to Linda and me than truth and accuracy. They are our only weapons – they are powerful and we guard them fiercely.
I was, however, concerned about some of the information Ambrose reported about Sharline Wilson. True, she was my task force’s best and most reliable informant. True, I never caught her in a lie. True, everything she told me panned out. Yet, as I read her confessions to Ambrose about picking up drugs from the Mena Airport, I felt uneasy. I knew nothing that could corroborate this, and I found myself wishing Ambrose had not included it in his book. Sharline had certainly been a drug-runner, but unloading planes at Mena seemed far-fetched.
Then, I began to think back to when I first got to know Sharline. One of my task force officers developed her as an informant against the dirty sheriff’s department in Hot Spring County. I remember she came up with some pretty incredible accusations against the sheriff and some of his deputies, but time proved her absolutely correct. Then I remembered the first time she mentioned Dan Harmon to me.
We had not worked Sharline in Saline County, and it never occurred to me to ask about Harmon. One day she blurted out that she used to date “Danny” and he “always had cocaine on him.” As I sat and listened to her, I remember thinking, “if this is true, why has she never mentioned it before – she knows Harmon is the primary target of my drug task force.” For whatever reason Sharline had for holding back, she later testified before the 1990 federal grand jury about Harmon (as well as Roger and Bill Clinton). Several other women have since told similar stories about Harmon, but Sharline was the first and she paid the price. Harmon was protected from indictment and became the district’s prosecutor. He had his drug task force set Sharline up on drug charges, and she is serving an incredible 30-year prison sentence.
Sharline hit me with another story a few years later after I got involved with the FBI’s probe. She told me she drove Dan Harmon to the tracks (the sight of a drug drop) the night Kevin and Don were murdered. She went on to say she sat in the car waiting on Harmon to return and saw some kids running out of the woods. Believe me, I was not about to tell this story to a soul, and further, I was through vouching for Sharline’s veracity – four year in prison had obviously sent her off the deep end. But it happened again – her story proved to be true. One of the kids she saw running out of the woods came forward to Linda Ives and told her he had been in the woods by the tracks with some friends when he saw Dan Harmon and others on the tracks with Kevin and Don. He said a shot rang out and they ran out of the woods. This kid passed an FBI polygraph test and was put into protective custody. He knew nothing about Sharline and Sharline knew nothing about him, yet their stories corroborated each other.
There is another argument on behalf of Sharline – the state police and the FBI have attempted to discredit her. They claim she has failed two polygraph tests – not true. One did not get past the preliminary-questions stage. The other she took after spending the night in isolation and says she was so traumatized she couldn’t even pass the “state your name” part.
It took a lot of guts for Ambrose to follow his instincts about Sharline and write the incredible things she claims. He was bound to have known his critics would have a field day, but Ambrose had an agenda – he wanted to tell the story of the people who paid a price for standing up to the political machine in Arkansas, and that’s exactly what he did. He is having to pay for doing so, but he has recorded history, and if I know Ambrose he will consider his bludgeoning by Clinton’s apologists a very small price.
If you don’t buy another book this year, you should buy this one. Even though the New York Times would not review it, it has made the United Press International Best Seller List, and in spite of the New York Times’ refusal to review it, it made the NYT extended list at #22 last week.
“The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories” has renewed my faith that the government does not yet control the thoughts and minds of America. There are still enough people who recognize the truth in spite of what we are being fed by the mainstream media.
Thanks, Ambrose. It is an honor to know you. I hope our paths cross again.
Update: November 10, 1997
No Clout, No Jury
By Jean Duffey
The headlines read, “Two teen-agers killed by train near Alexander.” This was the beginning of a media frenzy about the bizarre deaths of Kevin Ives and Don Henry and the even more bizarre twists and turns taken by the first investigations into those deaths. The media reported the gross incompetence of the initial sheriff’s department investigation and supported the parents’ battle with authorities to get second opinions on the cause of deaths. They seemed to hang on every word spoken by Special Prosecutor Dan Harmon during the county grand jury investigation of the case, often referred to by now as the “train deaths.”
The media covered every newly developed detail of the case, no matter how insignificant. There were close to one thousand newspaper articles written, and all were in support of the parents’ quest to find out what happened to Kevin and Don. Gradually, however, enthusiasm tapered off to an occasional article when a related issue made the news. It was during this time period Linda realized that Dan Harmon had been strategically placed in charge of the grand jury investigation so he could orchestrate and control the cover-up.
Linda also realized the brutal media smear campaign against Jean had been orchestrated by Harmon, who had lied to and manipulated them like sheep. Linda now believed that Jean had to be destroyed professionally because she was conducting a forthright investigation against Harmon and other public officials. However, it was not until both Linda and Jean began cooperating with the FBI’s investigation in 1994 that they finally met.
Jean and Linda shared their accumulated information with each other and with the FBI. They had high expectations that the FBI was going to do its job. Linda was told to “sit back and relax and to let the FBI do it’s job, that there would be a conclusion she would be satisfied with by the end of 1994.” This investigation was also different because the people they felt were involved in Saline County corruption were not involved as investigators and there was no information being leaked to the media. So Linda and Jean were patient . . . .and patient . . . . and patient. But the “successful conclusion” didn’t come. On November 20, 1995, Special FBI Agent Bill Temple told Linda and Larry Ives that “after an eighteen month exhaustive investigation, the FBI had no evidence of anything.” Temple went on to pour salt into the wound and told the Ives they “should consider the fact that a crime had not been committed.”
After recovering from the devastation of another shut-down investigation, the seventh one, Jean and Linda decided to go public for the first time. They authorized the release of their video, Obstruction of Justice, and they began exposing the corruption surrounding the shut-down of investigations from the local to the federal level. They publicly released information supporting their belief that very powerful people were involved in covering up the murders of Kevin and Don. The media, however, ignored them, even when they revealed the existence of an FBI witness who had passed a polygraph test placing Dan Harmon on the tracks with Kevin and Don the night they were murdered. What was going on?
If they had suspicioned before that the media was part of the problem, they now are certain that it is. Linda and Jean share their opinions in their contributions to this web page. Jean has written “The Media’s Role in Federal Government Cover-ups.” Linda has written “The Media; Friend or Foe?.”
A Study in Conspiracy
by Jean Duffey
First, there were years of confusion:
Those of us who profess a connection between the “train deaths” and our federal government realize the difficulty average folks have believing there could be such a conspiracy between local and federal officials. It’s nearly impossible to imagine such a notion, which makes it easy for mainstream media to scoff at the mere suggestion.
The public’s skepticism is understandable. When U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks held a press conference in June of 1991, to clear Dan Harmon and all other Saline County public officials “of drug-related public misconduct and other forms of wrongdoing,” I knew Banks was covering up serious crimes, but I didn’t suspect a conspiracy.
There were immediate rumors of blackmail based on a visit Harmon made to Banks with a video tape tucked under his arm. A few years prior to this visit, Harmon headed a county grand jury investigation involving a Saline County gambling house protected by former Sheriff James Steed. Prostitutes were paid to lure public officials into sexual encounters which were clandestinely captured on film, and if such a film of Banks existed, Harmon would certainly have access to it. Putting two and two together, a plausible explanation of Banks’ blatant obstruction of justice was spawned.
I was not and still am not convinced, however, a two-year federal investigation was shut down because Banks was being blackmailed. Harmon’s visit with Banks was indeed before Banks publicly proclaimed all Saline County free of corruption, but it was after Banks had already begun to dismantle the grand jury investigation. The wheels were already in motion to thwart any public official indictments. It seemed to me an attempt to blackmail Banks would have to be lower-keyed, and the facts are supportive of my supposition.
Prior to his walking into Banks’ office with the alleged video tape, Harmon was facing seven felony counts of income tax evasion. After leaving Banks’ office without the alleged video tape, he was facing three misdemeanor counts of failure to file tax returns. Blackmailing Banks to reduce charges of tax improprieties is believable, but blackmailing a U.S. Attorney to ignore two years of accumulated evidence against a number of public officials is simply not believable.
Shutting down a federal grand jury which wanted to indict several public officials was a very large-scale obstruction of justice, and Banks could not have done that on his own. Banks sent the 1990 jurors home at the end of their term with a warning they would be indicted if they spoke about what went on during their service. This was according to three grand jurors who were so outraged at Banks they wanted me to know they were unanimously ready to indict Dan Harmon and several other public officials. Something more than a blackmail tape was involved.
Still, I didn’t think in terms of a conspiracy, even though Banks, a republican- appointed U.S. Attorney, was protecting a bunch of democrats holding county offices. To justify his actions, Banks used a media smear campaign Harmon had contrived against me, which had completely discredited me professionally by the end of 1990. Although Banks knew the information my drug task force had provided the grand jury was credible, he used my destroyed reputation as the reason he concluded the allegations against Saline County officials “were based on rumors and innuendo.” The truth is, even if all the evidence offered by my drug task force was discounted, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Govar had independently accumulated enough evidence during his two-year investigation of Saline County corruption to support indictments. In spite of the amassed evidence, Banks announced , “we found no evidence of any drug-related misconduct by public officials in Saline County.”
I was dumbstruck by the announcement and bewildered when I remembered Chris Day, the Saline County Arkansas Gazette reporter, had given me prior warning. A source Chris would not name told him Banks was going to clear Harmon and all other Saline County officials in exchange for a federal judgeship nomination. I immediately called Bob Govar with Chris’s prediction. Bob said, “That’s nonsense. Banks has been wanting a nomination for years, but it’s just not going to happen.” Bob was wrong. Several months were allowed to pass after Banks publicly cleansed Saline County, then Banks received his federal judgeship nomination from President George Bush.* That’s right – from George Bush. Some kind of conspiracy plot was the only explanation, but it was just too ridiculous to consider, so I didn’t.
Professionally destroyed, dodging two bogus felony warrants, and fearing for my safety, my husband and I retreated from the controversy and lived quietly as school teachers in Pasadena, Texas. Then, in March of 1994, the FBI persuaded me to get involved again. An eye witness had come forward and passed an FBI polygraph test placing Dan Harmon on the tracks with Kevin Ives and Don Henry the night they were murdered back in 1987. This prompted the FBI to open it’s own investigation of the “train deaths” and to ask for my assistance. It was during that eighteen-month-long FBI investigation the conspiracy exposed itself.
Linda Ives and I began communicating for the first time. We shared information with each other and with the FBI. I also met Saline County Sheriff Investigator John Brown, who told me about a pilot he had interviewed who claimed to have flown a drug drop to the location where Kevin and Don were murdered. Additionally, Arkansas had become the focus of national interest by now, and many investigative reporters were anxious to uncover information about Clinton. The “train deaths” case certainly had connections to Clinton via Fahmy Malak, which initially piqued the interests of right-wingers. Then, as Linda and I shared information with anyone and everyone who would listen, the mystery unraveled, and the FBI verified much of what we now know.
Now, there was understanding:
Local law enforcement officers protected a major drug-drop site in Saline County that was part of the Mena Airport drug smuggling operation set up in the early 1980’s by the notorious drug smuggler, Barry Seal. By the mid-1980’s, CIA operatives were using Mena to help finance their covert support of the Nicaraguan Contras. (See the CIA page.) In spite of overwhelming evidence, Mena’s connection to a CIA operation or to a government-protected drug operation has been discounted or ignored by mainstream media. Even though Seal smuggled drugs in a cargo plane given to him by the CIA, and even though that plane was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of weapons, the media reports and supports the official CIA position of denial.
I realize now, my drug task force was dismantled because we were getting too close to solving the “train deaths.” We learned Kevin and Don were murdered because they witnessed a drug and/or money drop from an airplane. My task force knew public officials were actively involved in covering up the murders, but we were shut down before we connected the local activity to Mena. We were not allowed to progress our investigation any further. Harmon, a popular public figure at that time, lead a brutal campaign to discredit me; dirty public officials supported Harmon’s efforts; the media thrived for months on writing unsubstantiated allegations against me and my task force; and Chuck Banks used me as a scapegoat to justify shutting down the 1990 federal grand jury inquiry.
When I realized the catalyst for the thwarting of every investigation of the “train deaths” had been the Mena connection, I warned Phyllis Cournan, the agent in charge of the FBI investigation. I told her Kevin and Don’s killers would be indicted only if the investigation stayed away from Mena, but I was fooling myself to think that was possible. The Mena connection must eventually be made. By then, there had been six “train deaths” investigations that had gone nowhere, and in November of 1995, the FBI investigation became number seven. (See the FBI page.) The Mena connection again caused the rug to be yanked out from under an investigation which, in turn, is the logic behind a conspiracy premise.
A problem with swallowing any conspiracy theory is the murky connections. However, in this case, the evidence of a conspiracy between Mena CIA operatives and Saline County public official thugs brings the big picture into focus. It is important to understand all those involved did not sit around a conference table and discuss how to pull off a conspiracy. To the contrary, I have spoken to several ex-CIA operatives and a CIA contract pilot who occasionally flew the Saline County drop. They all explain that any one person in an operation knows only what is necessary for a specific assignment. This fits with statements made by some of the witnesses claiming to have picked up drugs from the tracks. They were told the drugs were coming up from Louisiana by train, which I believe was deliberate misinformation. Yet, it is the role of Dan Harmon in this story that is most convincing there was and is a multi-level, bi-partisan conspiracy.
My drug task force provided substantial evidence of Harmon’s involvement in illegal drug activity to the 1990 federal grand jury. Harmon countered with a smear campaign discrediting me and my task force. I was the good guy, and Harmon was the bad guy; but I was abandoned, and Harmon was supported. At the time, I didn’t know the cause of Harmon’s muscle, but the effect was clear – Banks protected Harmon from a multi-count indictment by a federal grand jury. From a larger perspective – Democratic District Prosecutor Dan Harmon was cleared by Republican U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks who was rewarded with a federal judgeship nomination by Republican President George Bush who is a former CIA Director.
Sounds pretty wild, but I challenge anyone to come up with any other explanation that makes half good sense for the support and protection Dan Harmon has received from low- to high-ranking public officials in spite of his years of various and numerous well-publicized criminal activity. (See Browse Back to the Future on the Saline County, Arkansas page.)
Now, there is frustration mixed with hope:
Like the adage, Linda and I are all dressed up with no place to go. We have enough evidence to have Dan Harmon and several other public officials indicted for covering up the murders of Kevin and Don, but we have no place to take it. We have enough evidence to connect the murders to CIA-Mena drug smuggling, but mainstream media won’t listen. We have evidence to warrant a Congressional investigation of a conspiracy among Republicans and Democrats to cover-up the crimes of Mena, but a Republican Congress won’t investigate a Republican scandal.
We have no official authority, we have no political clout, and we have no media influence, and we have no money, but we appear to be having an effect. Dan Harmon went down in flames, and three political candidates from his district, who publicly supported him through the years faced surprising defeats on November 5.
The odds are overwhelmingly against us, but we have hope and we have the Internet. Maybe we have all we need.
*Note: Chuck Banks was scheduled for a confirmation hearing in late November of 1992, but all Bush nominations were withdrawn immediately after Clinton won the election. Banks never received his judgeship. Sometimes there is justice. Banks, however, managed this year to get himself appointed head of the Pulaski County Republican Party. Either memories are short, or the Republicans of Pulaski County don’t care if their leader is dirty.
The Cover-up Continues
By Jean Duffey
Dan Harmon has been indicted for eleven serious federal crimes. Linda Ives has waited for this moment since 1991, when she learned Harmon used his position as special county prosecutor to orchestrate a cover-up of Kevin and Don’s murders. She must be thrilled, but she isn’t. She is not even sort of pleased.
But why? Harmon is facing some serious time in federal prison. His law license will be revoked and he has been exposed as the criminal he is. What more could Linda ask for? What does she expect from federal prosecutors? Just what does she want, anyway?
Linda Ives wants Dan Harmon to be held accountable for the murder of her son. However, federal prosecutors are ignoring evidence that is more than adequate to indict Harmon for conspiracy to commit the murders. The FBI has three witnesses placing Harmon on the tracks with the boys the night they were murdered. One of them was polygraphed and passed. So, what’s going on?
It looks and smells like a cover-up. Even though Harmon was indicted under RICO which allows federal prosecutors to go ten years back, the indictments only went back to August, 1991. The only reasonable explanation for that is, the U.S. Attorney’s office is protecting Chuck Banks.
Banks was the U.S. Attorney when the 1990 federal grand jury heard evidence against Harmon. According to three of those jurors, they were ready to unanimously indict Harmon back then. However, on June 27, 1991, Banks held a press conference and cleared Harmon on all allegations of wrong-doing. Banks, a republican appointee, was then nominated for a federal judgeship position by George Bush. The explanation made simple is, Banks thwarted the federal investigation before it connected Kevin and Don’s murders to the Mena/CIA drug smuggling operation.
In 1994, the Little Rock FBI recommended Banks be charged with obstruction of justice when they opened their own investigation of Harmon and the murders of Kevin and Don. They wanted Banks charged for shutting down his grand jury and for protecting Harmon. However, federal prosecutors were careful to include charges in Harmon’s indictment that date back to just after Banks cleared Harmon, even though enough evidence existed to indict Harmon on many other counts dating back to 1987, within the ten years time limitations. Maybe they are protecting Banks to protect the image of their office, but they are doing so at the expense of their integrity.
Bottom line – if it has not been clear before, it is crystal clear now that the government is never going to bring to justice those responsible for murdering Kevin and Don. Linda’s only hope is civil court.
The Kevin Ives Civil Justice Foundation has been established as a charitable organization for the purpose of raising money to file a civil suit against Dan Harmon and several other public officials for the murders and cover-ups. But, a civil suit costs a huge amount of money, and in this case, no financial benefit is expected. Harmon is penniless, but Linda is seeking accountability, not money.
A civil law suit will expose the many crimes surrounding the deaths of Kevin and Don and the public officials on every level, republicans and democrats alike, who have participated in the cover-ups. Fighting the government will not be easy, but Linda and I are committed. We plan to spend the summer in preparation for the suit to be filed this fall. We do not want to spend valuable time on fund-raising, but money must be raised. Every phase of a civil law suit is expensive. The time has come for us to ask for financial help. Up to now, we have personally financed most of our work, but we simply will not be able to pay for the voluminous files we need to obtain under FOI, not to mention the enormous costs of depositions, witness fees, attorney fees, and the trial itself.
Many people over the years have extended Linda emotional support and prayers. Those are still needed, but we must now have money. Linda begun receiving unsolicited donations last year, and she is very thankful and touched that strangers are so generous. However, giving money to this cause is not simply a donation, it is payment for value. The value will be the exposure of truth – the truth our government does not want exposed.
Linda Ives’ civil suit is not the only case around the country being launched to seek truth and accountability from our government, but it is one of the most important cases that will ever be launched. Exposing the circumstances surrounding the murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry will expose the crimes of Arkansas’s political system under Bill Clinton as well as connections to two Republican Presidencies.
Update: September 1, 1996
Is It 1990 All Over Again?
By Jean Duffey
Dan Harmon, Saline County’s most notorious public figure, is getting media attention for assaulting his ex-wife. He is arrested, and a check of his record shows that he has been driving on suspended driver’s license stemming from a violation out of another county. The ball is passed to an appointed prosecutor who delays making a decision on whether or not to file charges. Harmon’s ex-wife later recants and nothing significant happens to Harmon. Editorials reflect the public’s frustration with the maneuvers that protect Harmon’s political position.
The U.S. Attorney’s office is reviewing evidence that several Saline County officials are involved in serious illegal activities involving drugs. The investigation drags on for months, but the newspapers suggest there is a significant amount of evidence piling up. Dan Harmon is a specific target of the feds and there is a great deal of speculation about impending indictments that the U.S. Attorney attempts to down-play.
Linda Ives is encouraged that a local newspaper reported my claim of a connection between the murders of Kevin and Don and Saline County public officials involved in drug trafficking. It is apparent from the article I have valuable and credible information.
By the way, what year is this – 1990 or 1996? Take your pick. There’s no recognizable difference. The occurrences of this year look painfully familiar – it’s 1990 all over again. That certainly makes it easy to predict what will happen in 1997. The plain, clear, simple truth is – nothing. Nothing will happen. There will be no indictments of any public official. In fact, Paula Casey will hold a news conference in about six months to announce that there was no credible evidence of any wrong doing of any public official in Saline County. She will then go on to specifically clear Dan Harmon and all the members of his family.
How do I know? Do I sound unnecessarily sarcastic? Judge for yourself. Below are excerpts and summaries of just a few of the newspaper articles from the years I have mentioned. It literally looks like the players of 1996 read the script from 1990. Prepare to be amazed by a quintessence of the adage, “truth is stranger than fiction.”
|Arkansas Gazette – July 12, 1990 – The unopposed democratic nominee for prosecutor, Dan Harmon broke into his former wife’s house Tuesday night and attacked her, a friend, and a neighbor police said. Wednesday night, Harmon was stopped by the Benton police and charged with driving on suspended driver’s license. (Harmon’s ex-wife in 1990 was Teresa Huchingson.)||Benton Courier – Apr. 1, 1996 – Prosecuting Attorney Dan Harmon was arrested Saturday after abducting his ex-wife, Holly DuVall (ex-wife #4). DuVall said during a car-chase Harmon threw a rock and broke her driver’s side window, pulled her out of her car, and drove off at 100 mph. After releasing DuVall, Harmon was pulled over for running a stop sign and it was discovered that he was driving on suspended driver’s license.|
|Benton Courier – July 16,1990 – A decision on whether to file charges against prosecutor-elect Dan Harmon in connection with a domestic dispute last week will be made by Benton City Attorney Joe Kelly Hardin instead of Prosecuting Attorney Gary Arnold||Malvern Daily Record – Apr. 5, 1996 – Special Circuit Judge Hamilton Singleton appointed Garland County Prosecutor Paul Bosson as special prosecutor. Bosson said his office still has some work to do before he can file any charges against Harmon.|
|Arkansas Democrat – Aug. 4, 1990 – The three people who reported that prosecuting attorney-elect Dan Harmon attacked them July 10, apparently are not going to press charges. Harmon’s ex-wife did not show up to meet with the city attorney.||Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – June 20, 1996 – Special Prosecutor Paul Bosson said there was a problem with the felony charges against Harmon because DuVall said Harmon didn’t threaten her. Bosson also said DuVall didn’t want her former husband to go to jail.|
|Benton Courier – July 31, 1990 – Editorial Letter: Your paper quoted Saline County Democratic Party Chairman Ray Baxter as saying Harmon’s troubles are “none of the party’s business.” He was surely speaking on behalf of the good old boys club. It obviously is the party’s business that Harmon has been accused of criminal behavior.||Malvern Daily Record – Apr. 2, 1996 – Editorial: You’d think that by now Harmon’s political capital would be spent but this is Arkansas. A state that gave Jim McDougal a wad of votes in the 1992 Democratic primary and re-elected Bill McCuen year after year would certainly be willing to give a guy like Harmon another chance.|
|Arkansas Gazette – Nov 27, 1990 – Current and former Saline County officials are the target of a year-old federal investigation into public corruption and illegal drug sales, sources familiar with the investigation said Monday. Some of the witnesses are convicted felons who have been granted immunity from federal prosecution in exchange for their testimony.||Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – Jan. 28, 1996 – Several former drug suspects are now cooperating with federal authorities in their investigation of Saline County by telling how they managed to escape prosecution by leaving large sums of money or property behind. Several former suspects have been offered immunity, and a “surprising” number have agreed to testify.|
|Arkansas Gazette – Dec. 12, 1990 – Dan Harmon is a primary target of a federal grand jury investigation of public official corruption and drug trafficking in Saline County according to U.S. Attorney’s Office memos. “It appears Harmon not only used cocaine, but that he distributed it.” Indictments could be returned soon.||Arkansas Democrat-Gazette – Aug 6, 1996 – U.S. Attorney Paula Casey said Monday that an FBI investigation of alleged corruption linked to Harmon’s drug task force is ongoing. However, Casey would not speculate when the investigation would be completed in spite of earlier predictions of imminent indictments.|
|Benton Courier – Dec. 13, 1990 – Links between a federal grand jury investigation into Saline County drug trafficking and the corruption of public officials and the 1988 investigation into the deaths of two Saline County teen-agers have only begun to surface, according to Scott Lewellen, who resigned from the 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force in protest of Jean Duffey being fired as administrator.||Malvern Daily Record – Mar. 20, 1996 – According to former drug task force administrator, Jean Duffey, an eyewitness came forward in December, 1993, who places Dan Harmon on the tracks with Kevin Ives and Don Henry the night they were murdered. The witness passed a polygraph test and prompted the FBI to begin an investigation. Duffey alleges a cover-up of the murders is to protect a drug smuggling operation.|
|Arkansas Gazette – June 28, 1991 – U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks announced earlier in the day that Harmon, his family, and all Saline County public officials have been cleared of allegation of drug-related public misconduct and all other forms of wrong-doing.|
Update: July 8, 1996
The Media’s Role in State Government Cover-Ups
By Jean Duffey
One thing that makes me think the media’s role in this conspiracy may be more than mere laziness or negligence is their reluctance to report information that is contrary to the government’s “official” position, no matter how verifiable the contrary information may be. Case in point: The Arkansas media was supportive of the homicide investigation of Kevin Ives and Don Henry for years and reported every newly discovered detail, no matter how insignificant. There were many hundreds of newspaper articles written in the early years. This was when the “official” position of the state’s special prosecutor was that the boys had been murdered and their bodies placed in front of an on-coming train to cover the crime. Eight years after the murders, in spite of overwhelming evidence implicating public officials in the murders and a perpetuated cover-up, there have been no articles – zero, absolutely none. In November, 1995, the FBI shut down its investigation when evidence linked the crimes to the Mena drug-smuggling operation. FBI Special Agent Bill Temple told the Ives’ they “should consider the fact that no crime was committed.” (See Linda Ives’ FBI Timeline. The Arkansas media has, of course, accepted that position and without questioning the obvious contradictions, we can expect nothing more to be reported.
Fed up with the cover-up, I revealed on a Little Rock TV talk show that three witnesses place Prosecutor Dan Harmon on the railroad tracks with Kevin and Don the night they were murdered (transcription of that talk show coming soon). This information came from state police reports of two eye-witnesses, and an FBI witness who passed a polygraph test. The radio host was so excited about the news, he immediately sent out a news release to the Arkansas media reporting what I said. However, the story was ignored by every news source except the small daily paper in my hometown of Malvern.
Think about this a minute. I am a former deputy prosecutor and director of a drug task force disclosing documents of three eye-witnesses who place a state prosecuting attorney at the scene of two brutal murders, yet I am ignored by Arkansas’s news media. They, of course, do not want to be in conflict with the government’s “official” position, which includes U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks clearing Dan Harmon in June, 1991, of all allegations of wrong-doing. The media also ignored my report that the FBI recommended Banks be charged with obstruction of justice for shutting down that federal investigation of Harmon – the FBI won’t confirm that, but they won’t deny it either, which is a red flag also being ignored.
When the state’s only daily newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, refused to print a letter to the editor my brother, Mark Keesee, wrote asking them to cover this story of great public interest and concern, Linda Ives and I decided to not let this go by unchallenged. We went to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette office and asked to speak with the state news editor, Roger Hedges. It was July 2, 1996, at about 10:30 a m. The previous week, my brother, Mark Keesee, sent Hedges a packet of information to make certain he was apprised of the issues which concerned us. (The Benton Courier interview of I.C. Smith, the Courier article of Linda’s response, my letter to Smith, Mark’s letter to the Courier editor, the Courier article about missing money from Harmon’s task force evidence locker, a Democrat-Gazette article on the missing money, the Malvern Daily Record article reporting Harmon on the tracks with Kevin and Don the night they were murdered, and a copy of the video Obstruction of Justice. The articles about the missing money and Mark’s letter to the Courier editor were intended to show media bias. The rest was to show there is a very good story the Democrat-Gazette is missing.)
When Linda and I arrived at the paper office, we were directed to Hedges. As soon as we introduced ourselves to him, he immediately became defensive. He said he had to get ready to go to a meeting, so we asked if we could make an appointment to talk with him at his convenience. Hedges said “What about?”
I told him we wanted to know why his paper was treating the new information we had on Dan Harmon like it was a “non-story.” I specifically asked why they hadn’t pursued a story on the eye-witnesses who place Harmon on the tracks with Kevin and Don the night they were murdered. Hedges asked who the witnesses are, so I began telling him that a witness came forward in 1993 who was placed in protective custody by the FBI. This witness’s information was credible enough for the FBI to open its own investigation of the “train deaths.” Then I began telling him about Sharline Wilson, who is a confessed ex-drug dealer and cohort of Harmon. Sharline claims to have actually ridden with Harmon to the tracks that night.
Hedges interrupted me and said in an inappropriately condescending tone, “Well, look at the kind of people you have accusing a prosecuting attorney”. He placed great emphasis on “prosecuting attorney.”
Let’s examine that statement – it has three very revealing points.
- First point: Hedges either ignored me when I told him about the FBI witness who prompted a new investigation, or Hedges took exception to the FBl’s assessment of the witness’s worth by placing the witness in the category of “the kind of people” who have no business accusing a public official of a crime. It couldn’t be the latter, since Hedges knows nothing about this witness, including the fact the witness passed an FBI polygraph test. Hedges was,therefore, ignoring the very existence of this particular witness since the information does not fit his agenda – a well-established practice of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
- Second point: Hedges clearly asserted his opinion that Sharline Wilson is an unfit witness by placing her in the category of “the kind of people” who have no business accusing the likes of Dan Harmon. But wait a minute. Just who are the best witnesses against drug dealers? Could it perhaps be those who know about drug dealing? And who knows about drug dealing better than drug dealers? Not only does Sharline know about Harmon from first hand experience with him, she paid a heavy price for testifying against him. After Harmon was cleared by U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks (in spite of the federal grand jury unanimously wanting to indict him after hearing testimony from Sharline and many other witnesses), Harmon had Sharline arrested by his drug task force. Harmon then teamed up with his buddy, Circuit Judge John Cole, and railroaded a jury into convicting her. As an ex-prosecuting attorney and head of a drug task force, it is my opinion that Sharline’s history with Harmon, coupled with Harmon’s retaliation against her, makes her a compelling witness. I feel certain prosecutors will not be lining up to get advice from Hedges about how to get drug dealers convicted.
- Third point: Hedges was apparently offended by the witnesses who were “accusing a prosecuting attorney.” Wait another minute. Never mind the prosecuting attorney we’re talking about is Dan Harmon, who was the subject of more than a hundred newspaper articles in the last year chronicling his bizarre, illegal, and violent behavior. Never mind that Harmon was so discredited the voters of Saline County dealt him an embarrassing and overwhelming defeat in the 1996 primary elections. Never mind that Harmon later resigned from office as part of a plea agreement on five felony charges. Hedges considers Dan Harmon to be worthy of a higher class of witnesses than the average criminal by virtue of his position as a prosecuting attorney. But mainstream media is notorious for holding public officials to a lower sandard rather than a highter standard, even criminals according to Hedges.
Hedges had cut me off before I told him about a third witness – it was quite evident that he had an attitude problem about Linda and me. We offered again to come back another time, hoping he wouldn’t be so irritated with us if we had an appointment, but he asked why we wanted to meet again with him. Linda said we wanted to know why the paper has never run a story on the six witnesses who have turned up dead in Kevin and Don’s case.
Hedges looked at me and said, “Your brother, (emphasizing “brother” in a hateful tone) told me there were six jurors that turned up dead.
Linda said, “No, they were witnesses.”
Hedges said, “I was told they were jurors.”
This was the only time during our visit Linda or I were anything other than very cordial, but Linda was obviously irritated with Hedges. It was an insult for him to think we would suggest that grand jurors were being murdered, and it was ridiculous for him to think Mark would be mistaken about such a thing. Hedges was calling us liars, and we take serious offense to that.
Linda responded sternly, “You obviously misunderstood. I can assure you Mark did not say jurors were turning up dead. He would never have said something like that.”
Hedges responded by saying something like, “Anyway, there is no evidence that the deaths were related to the case,” and he didn’t think the coincidence made much of a story.
Linda said, “The Democrat ran a story when three of the witnesses turned up dead. It seems to me that six dead witnesses is twice the story.”
Hedges acted ticked but didn’t have a response, so Linda continued. She reminded Hedges how angry the Democrat-Gazette was when the Benton Courier had written an article the previous month allowing Harmon to explain why he assaulted a Democrat-Gazette reporter. The Courier printed very ugly things Harmon had to say about the reporter, but didn’t call the reporter to respond or tell his side. Linda said the Democrat did the same thing to me back in 1990, time and time and time again. They printed whatever lie Harmon wanted to mouth about me, but rarely gave me the opportunity to respond.
Hedges tried to cop out by saying that was before his time at the paper. “Besides,” he said, “that was Doug Thompson who wrote those stories, and Thompson is now in the business section and doesn’t have anything to do with the Benton bureau anymore.”
Linda quickly reminded Hedges that when Harmon was on his “hunger strike” in the hospital, a few weeks earlier, Harmon refused to talk to any reporter but Thompson, so, of course, the Democrat-Gazette complied with Harmon’s wish.
Hedges had no choice but to admit it and said, “Well, yes, that’s right.”
Yes, that is right. Anytime Harmon wanted to mouth off to the press, they rushed the reporter of his choice to him. With this, Hedges looked at the clock and said in an accusatory tone, “Now I’m late for my meeting,” as if it was our fault. I asked him if we could arrange to meet with him some other time, and he said he would be in touch. We’ve never heard from him.
Update: June 5, 1996
The Rise and Demise of Jean Duffey’s Task Force
By Jean Duffey
After attending graduate school at Texas A&M on the G.I. Bill, my husband, Duff, bought my dad’s moving company out of Hot Spring County, Arkansas. Duff built the business up around the Little Rock area, and in 1984, when I started law school in Little Rock, we moved to Saline County. During my second year of law school, I clerked for the City of Little Rock and stayed on as an assistant city attorney after graduation. In the summer of 1988, Dan Harmon called and asked if he and Richard Garrett could come to my home one Sunday morning. They came over to ask if I would work for Garrett if he was elected prosecutor of the Seventh Judicial District made up of Saline, Hot Spring, and Grant County. I gladly accepted the offer since it was a part-time job and the office was ten minutes from home. When Gary Arnold won the election instead of Garrett, Arnold called and offered me the same position. I was puzzled about that until I learned how the district’s “good old boys” crisscrossed party lines. I still don’t understand why I was asked to come on board, but it wasn’t long until they regretted doing so.
On January 1, 1989, Gary Arnold took office I was assigned to prosecute primarily in Saline County. I immediately clashed with a municipal judge and several Saline County defense attorneys, including Harmon, because I disrupted their way of taking care of DWI’s. I had heard rumors that $2000 would make a DWI “go away,” and with a percentage of DWI-convictions in the sixty percentile the previous year, it looked like several defendants came up with the cash. Ray Baxter, dubbed one of the county’s most prominent “good old boys,” is a Saline County defense attorney. After losing a DWI trial for one of his clients, Baxter was red-faced and outraged. He assured me I would be gone within six months. I survived though, and by the end of six months, the DWI conviction rate was in the ninety percentile. Teresa Harmon, one of Dan Harmon’s ex-wives, told me Harmon particularly hated me because he was the one who invited me into Saline County and I betrayed him.
Gary Arnold took heat over me, but he was initially supportive because I was popular with other county officials. Thousands of dollars in fines and court costs were pouring into the county treasury instead of lawyers’ pockets. Also, the law enforcement officers and victims of crimes were pleased to have an advocate – something they weren’t used to. Arnold told me I made him “look good.”
In March of 1990, Arnold’s office received federal and state funding to set up a drug task force in our district. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) sent Arnold a formal notification letter on April 16, 1990 which served as a contract between Arnold and DFA. Page one of the letter verifies the official date the Seventh Judicial District Drug Task Force was established, and page two verifies Arnold’s contractual obligations. Arnold appointed the heads of the district’s eight largest law enforcement agencies to serve on the task force board, and one of them approached me about taking the job as administrator. I declined twice, but the board was not satisfied with any of the applicants and finally talked me into accepting. This was, however, in spite of Arnold’s protests.
Arnold, who was holding his first public office, had higher political ambitions and had obviously become one of the “good old boys.” The district’s politically prestigious Circuit Court Judge John Cole made it clear he was opposed to my appointment, calling me “dangerous” according to Robert Shepherd, the state drug czar at that time. Arnold vehemently argued to the board against me, but the other seven members ignored him and unanimously voted to hire me.
The very day the board made my appointment official, Gary Arnold walked into my office, stood in front of my desk, looked straight through me when I glanced up, and said matter-of-factly, “Jean, you are not to use the drug task force to investigate any public official.” He turned on his heel and left my office. I recently reflected back on that incident and was frankly amazed I was rather blase` about Arnold’s directive. My indifferent attitude stemmed from being conditioned to Arnold’s sometimes crass behavior and illogical ideas when such a directive from him would not have been at all surprising. Then I recalled the time I wanted to prosecute a rape case after interviewing the victim.
I regularly prosecuted all municipal and juvenile cases and their appeals, but had to be specifically assigned any felony case by Arnold. When I asked him if I could file charges and prosecute the rapist, he immediately said, “absolutely not” and gave no further explanation until I pressed him. He jumped up from behind his desk and said, “Go get me an empty coke bottle.” I looked confused and he repeated his command, so I went to the office break room, got the bottle, and started back to his office, but he met me in our secretary’s office. He took the bottle, held it out toward me, started wiggling it around, and said, “now try to stick your finger in the hole.” I said, “Gary, what is your point?” He said, “It’s hard to hit a moving target. It takes cooperation from the female.” I was disgusted that he was our district prosecutor and my boss. Still I thought he refused to allow me to file the charges because the rapist was the victim’s ex-boyfriend and the case would be too hard to prosecute. However, a couple of years later, my feelings became even more cynical toward Arnold’s sentiment about any rape case.
In December of 1990, Arnold dropped the ball in a case where a 16-year-old deaf girl was raped by the 37-year-old son of a court reporter. The circumstances of that case was reported by The Benton Courier in a September 6, 1991 article Stuart’s DNA matched that in the semen found on the little girl, which positively identified Stuart as the rapist. Arnold, however, did not provide the DNA test results to Stuart’s defense attorney in time for proper trial preparation, so the case was dismissed. That unfortunate slip-up might be forgiven under circumstances where the prosecutor was working under a time-crunch deadline, but in this case, Arnold had two years to comply – TWO YEARS! This was either gross incompetence or dirty dealing , and in my opinion, either or both are plausible explanations for Arnold letting this rapist get off.
I knew he was anxious to please the district’s political hierarchy, but it still came as a surprise when I realized he was doing everything he could to cause me to fail as task force director. Those who remember the media smear campaign against me will recall Dan Harmon was the source of the hateful and viscous lies being printed. That is a matter of public record. However, Gary Arnold’s insidious role in discrediting me made the battle to survive a losing one from the beginning.
It all started immediately after Arnold was unanimously over-ruled by the board and I was appointed task force administrator. Within a few days, Arnold sent me to an in-service meeting at the State Department of Finance and Administration to learn how to set up the books. Gordon Burton, Grants Administration Director, sent me back to Saline County with a message for Arnold that it was not possible for me to be the administrator and keep the books. Being task force administrator was a full-time job in itself, and then some.
According to DFA Administrator Jerry Duran, most task forces have a public agency with the city or county to keep the books, but for some reason, Arnold directed me to find a task force fiscal officer. Since this officer would be hired by the board and would be answerable to the board, I didn’t understand why Arnold was saddling me with the responsibility. He didn’t even let me know if he had given a public notice for the job vacancy, and he rejected the only suggestion I had. After a couple of weeks, I was approached by a court clerk who insisted her daughter, Kathy Evans, would be ideal. I submitted Evans’ name to Arnold and she was hired. Apparently, Arnold set me up to be the one who recommended Evans who was later discovered by my officers and I to be a “plant.”
Evans’ duties were to set up task force books, keep all the financial records, and manage the task force money. She went to a training workshop and was given charge of task force funds. Evans’ name appeared on the task force letter head stationery along with mine, and we were directly answerable to the board for our duties; not to each other. I was in charge of investigations and prosecutions of drug cases developed by the task force. I hired three full-time and four part-time undercover officers who were directly answerable to me. By the first of May, we were up and running.
Arnold was, by now, well established with the local political machine and was set up to run unopposed as a republican for a judgeship. Dan Harmon was set up to run unopposed as a democrat to take over Arnold’s position as prosecuting attorney. By June, Arnold was officially juvenile judge-elect and Harmon was officially the prosecutor-elect. By that time, however, my task force investigators had uncovered substantial evidence linking Harmon to local drug trafficking, so it was no surprise when Harmon launched a media smear campaign against me and my task force. And perhaps, he was also seeking revenge for my “betraying” his invitation to join the “good old boys” of Saline County.
The media’s cooperation with Harmon was startling. Back in 1988, Harmon cultivated the media while he was heading the county grand jury investigation of the “train deaths.” Circuit Judge John Cole appointed Harmon special prosecutor which gave him immediate access to and control of information as it developed. This, of course, is when witnesses began turning up dead, but no one connected that to Harmon at the time. Harmon also controlled the information that went out to the public through the media. He is a masterful manipulator and used a gullible media to make himself a folk hero for his hard work and dedication to the case. To this day, two of the reporters have not abandoned their support of Dan Harmon. They are Lynda Hollenbeck with the Benton Courier and Doug Thompson with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. (In 1990, Thompson wrote for the Democrat which bought out the Gazette in 1991.) Hollenbeck and Thompson were willing participants in Harmon’s smear campaign against me and my task force and neither reporter bothered to verify anything Harmon said; they just printed it – lie after lie, article after article – even when they knew Harmon was lying.
At first, I wasn’t too concerned about the negative publicity, because I was taking the information about Harmon and other public officials involved in drugs to Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Govar. Govar had headed a grand jury probe into public official corruption in Saline County for a year, and the information my task force took him made his case stronger. Govar repeatedly assured me that indictments against Dan Harmon and other Saline County public officials were imminent. However, according to Govar, his boss, Chuck Banks, was holding him back even though Govar insisted he was ready to ask the grand jury for indictments and the grand jury was ready to give them. Govar was eventually removed from the investigation by Banks who took over and dismantled it. By December of 1990, I had been so discredited and brutalized by the media, Banks used me to justify shutting down Govar’s nearly two-year-long investigation. Bank’s held a news conference on June 27, 1991, and cleared “Harmon, his family and all Saline County public officials . . . of allegations of drug-related public misconduct and other forms of wrongdoing.” The Arkansas Gazette goes on to report Banks saying the allegations were based on rumors and innuendo and didn’t have merit. The article then quotes Harmon; “I regret . . . federal investigators listened to a crazy person like Jean Duffey.” Arkansas Gazette, June 28, 1991. The details of Govar’s investigation and Banks’ part in protecting Saline County officials from prosecution is the subject of The 1990 Federal Grand Jury Investigation. The part the media played in protecting Dan Harmon and other public officials is included in that report.
If I had known the smear campaign was going to be used by Banks to protect the public officials we investigated, I would not have sat back and depended on the promised federal indictments to clear my name. If I had it to do again, I would have aggressively defended myself against every lie from the very first article which was written by Doug Thompson the day after Dan Harmon became prosecutor-elect. Thompson reported Harmon saying, “There are more serious crimes than neglecting or abuse of an animal, yet that’s what she’d rather spend time prosecuting.” (He was, of course, referring to me.) Thompson called me for a response and I told him to simply check the municipal court dockets. Of the hundreds of cases I prosecuted, only two were animal related cases. Thompson, however, didn’t report my response or what the municipal court records clearly showed. Instead, he reported that I had founded the animal rights organization, Arkansas For Animals, which insinuated Harmon’s accusation was true. Thompson then reported Harmon’s further accusations that I “wasted task force money on automatic rifles and surveillance equipment that might be nice in New York City, but is not essential in rural Arkansas.” The truth is, our task force did not use weapons of any kind, and although we bought the bare essential surveillance equipment, most of what we needed was loaned to us by the Malvern Police Department. The equipment we did purchase was budgeted for and justified by Gary Arnold in his original application for funding that was approved by DFA. I showed Thompson the records, but he wasn’t interested in reporting the truth. He, in fact, reported, “Duffey, who was out of town on task force business Wednesday, could not be reached for comment” which was an outright, blatant lie. He did reach me, I did comment, and he lied about it. Arkansas Democrat, June 1, 1990. And so it went. That article was the first of an incredible string of irresponsible and unethical reporting by Thompson and Hollenbeck and outright lying by Thompson. I had always believed “truth is a defense against slander,” but the truth doesn’t help you if you can’t get it reported.
Hollenbeck and Thompson were not the only people Harmon manipulated. In September, I got a tip that the task force fiscal officer, Kathy Evans, and her mother had been meeting with Harmon. Early on, my task force officers were suspicious of Evans. She “snooped” into files and listened to conversations that didn’t have anything to do with her job. Evans did not have access to any reports or files on public officials since my officers and I decided to keep all such records away from the task force office. We turned everything over to Bob Govar for his federal grand jury investigation.
After investigating the tip about Evans, I learned Harmon had put her up to over-drafting the task force bank account and to forging my name on task force checks. Evans had unrealistic romantic interests in one of my task force officers who I asked to call Evans and find out what he could. Evans confessed she was cooperating with Harmon and even admitted she and her mother were regularly meeting with him. Evans told my officer they would “soon have enough” to get rid of me and Evans said Harmon had promised her she would have my job as soon as he took office as prosecutor. According to Evans, Harmon also promised her mother a position in his office.
While I was clambering around for information, I learned Evans used task force authorization to obtain fake driver’s licenses for herself and for my 17-year-old daughter. This was a misdemeanor criminal offense, which I reported to the Arkansas State Police and used it as an excuse to suspend Evans from the task force office. I took all of the fiscal files, books, and records I could find to the state prosecutor coordinator’s office, which immediately began helping us reconstruct the task force finances. After the state police interviewed me and they had already begun an investigation, Arnold wrote a letter requesting “an investigation by the Arkansas State Police as soon as possible.” He wrote, “a review of the financial records . . . by the Office of Intergovernmental Services indicates the possibility of theft, or at least unauthorized expenditures of Task Force funds.” Arnold, of course, did not bother to mention that I was the one who discovered the problem and that I had already taken steps to correct the situation and that I had already been talking with state police investigators. And, of course, he did not mention that Evans was under his direct supervision, not mine, or that he was directly responsible for confidential expenditures, not me. Evans had forged my signature to checks in the amount of nearly $4000 which had been cashed for confidential expenditures and drug buys. However, there was no record of the money after the checks were cashed. Arnold was directly accountable for the disbursement of these funds, and in fact, it was his signature on the Confidential Funds Certification, not mine. Yet, I was the one who was linked time after time in the media to “the missing $4000,” not Evans and not Arnold.
Arnold came to the prosecutor coordinator’ office the day I took the financial records up to be reconstructed. He was agitated, nervous, and rude. He was desperate to put the blame for Evans’ actions on me. Evans was claiming I told her to forge my name on those checks, which was as ridiculous, but not as absurd as Arnold ordering me to call Doug Thompson to tell him I authorized the overdrafts. I had asked for authorization for the bank to overdraft our very first check before our funding arrived so we could begin operating, but that was the one and only time I requested an overdraft and that was done in advance and with board approval. I was outraged at Arnold’s desperation and never had another civil conversation with him. It hit me like a ton of bricks, at that moment, Gary Arnold was doing more to destroy me than was Dan Harmon. I later saw Arnold explaining to Doug Thompson that the board was changing the structure of the task force. Arnold said they were hiring a field supervisor to be in charge of the officers and I would be in charge of the fiscal officer. That was such a stupid attempt to put the blame on me retroactively even Thompson didn’t print it.
I then began putting together all the things Arnold had done to hinder and discredit me and feed the media. He kept coming up with ridiculous reasons to shut down the task force weeks at a time. The first time was very early on when he claimed he wanted “to check if the task force officers have proper liability coverage.” My officers had been sworn in as deputy sheriff’s in the district and were covered under the sheriff departments’ insurance programs, which was the recommended procedure and was just how other task forces were insuring their officers. Arnold kept dragging his feet and finally, after two weeks, he allowed us to work again. He told me he was satisfied that our liability coverage was adequate, but he showed me no evidence whatsoever that he had done any research or checking on it during the two-week period he wouldn’t allow my officers to be on the streets. The next time Arnold shut us down was off and on for nearly a month after I fired one of my officers, Jim Lovette, for gross incompetence and negligence of duty documented in a two-page letter to Lovette’s personnel file (page 1 and page 2). The board upheld Lovette’s termination, but only after Arnold had the board conduct an exhaustive investigation of all Lovette’s lies and ridiculous allegations against me. One of the board members told me they knew early on Lovette was lying. Not surprisingly, Lovette was frequently seen with Dan Harmon thereafter.
Arnold also did things that were very deliberate to discredit me. One incident happened at the August task force board meeting. One of the board members and I rode with Arnold to the meeting which was in Grant County. Arnold didn’t mentioned a memo he had gotten from DFA until the meeting was underway and Doug Thompson was perched on the edge of his seat, pad and pencil in hand. If it sounds like I am insinuating the incident was planned, orchestrated, and choreographed, that is exactly what I am insinuating. When the meeting turned to new business, Arnold yanked a letter-size paper from his folder, waved it violently in my face, and said, “Just what is this hate letter all about.” I, of course, didn’t have a clue what this “hate letter” was all about until I read the paper which was a memorandum from the Department of Finance and Administration. The memo stated the task force was in danger of losing funding because we were delinquent in submitting two reports. One of the delinquent reports was a progress report for which I had been given an extension, and the other was a budget report which Kathy Evans was responsible for filing, and I knew nothing about that one.
I suggested the board take a break while I phoned DFA which, obviously, is what Arnold should have done himself before the meeting. During the break, a DFA secretary located both the budget report and the extension on the progress report in a misplaced file folder. When I explained DFA had sent the memo by mistake, Arnold was noticeably disappointed. Perhaps Doug Thompson was disappointed that he couldn’t use the so-called “hate letter” against me at that time, but he found a way to use it a month later by referring to it out of context and leaving off the part about the memo being sent in error. That entire article by Thompson is an amazing example of Thompson’s obvious attempt to discredit me with lies and twisted half truths. That article is discussed in detail in The State Police, the Media, and the Missing $4000.
The most devastating shut down was during the six-weeks-long investigation of task force finances by the state police. What should have been an investigation of Kathy Evans, was an investigation of every computer file, every paper file, every case record, every narcotics buy, every confidential informant report – every move my task force officers and I had ever made. This was no investigation of a fiscal officer who was stealing from the task force – this was clearly a snooping expedition that had nothing to do with fiscal misconduct. Fortunately, my task force officers and I were not keeping files on public officials at the task force office, so the state police did not find what they were looking for. Even though it was Arnold’s intentions to keep us from operating during those long weeks, my officers went right on working but were not given money to make drug buys. My officers stayed in touch with their informants and continued to develop new information. This was in spite of Arnold’s directive to them to “take a paid vacation.”
Arnold also used the investigation to provide the media with ammunition – Doug Thompson in particular. Arnold ordered me to not speak with the media, yet he was more than cooperative in providing them with information that sometimes needed explanations, and I was not allowed to give it. For example, under Freedom of Information, (FOI) Thompson got a copy of a report talking about Lovette’s botched drug surveillance buy. The report had Lovette’s name blacked out, and Thompson reported the incident without explaining I had already fired Lovette for his conduct. Thompson’s report insinuated I still had this officer working for me.
Speaking of FOI, I found it interesting when the district’s state senator, Charlie Cole Chaffin, expedited an opinion from the state attorney general to determine if Doug Thompson and other reporters could attend task force board meetings. Chaffin is Circuit Judge John Cole’s sister and a long-time and enthusiastic supporter of Dan Harmon. In 1991, Harmon was jailed by a federal judge for refusing to submit to a drug test as a standard condition for release after a plea appearance on federal tax charges. Chaffin rallied to Harmon’s defense and gave him a public cheer while she was speaking at the opening of a community center. Although the Benton Courier article of September 7, 1991, makes it sound like several hundred people cheered for Harmon, the truth is the crowd responded to Chaffin’s enthusiasm for the Constitution. When Chaffin mentioned Harmon, there was less response from the crowd. This article is typical of how politicians and the media manipulate the public.
The state police investigation of the task force finances was such an incredible sham, it is a story all to itself and is the subject of The State Police, the Media, and the Missing $4000. The story includes documents from the investigation including Evans’ interview in which she admits to forging my signature on checks amounting to the missing funds. After a six-weeks-long investigation where there is an admission, documentation, and corroboration that Kathy Evans was stealing from the task force, the state police claims its investigation was “inconclusive.” Bottom line – the investigation did not turn up a hint of any illegal or improper action on my part, so their investigation was a wash. Evans was not prosecuted for anything, not even for illegally obtaining fake driver’s license for herself and my daughter. Since Evans was clearly being protected from prosecution, my daughter was also not prosecuted. I’m sure otherwise, she would have been charged and it would have made headlines. The state police investigation of my task force is typical of how the state police has participated in covering up Saline County corruption. A 2000-page state police file is the subject of The State Police Investigation and reveals their participation in that cover-up.
It is absolutely amazing to me now to look back and realize the things my task force officers and I were able to accomplish in the short time we were allowed to operate and under such adverse circumstances. We linked Dan Harmon and other public officials in the Seventh Judicial District to the source of much of the drug trade, but we were never allowed to present the evidence to the federal grand jury. I was fired as task force administrator and deputy prosecutor on November 9, Arnold sent me a letter of termination on November 16, 1990, stating “the basis for termination was unsatisfactory performance.” Actually, the incredible amount of adverse publicity was what the board discussed as the reason I was being fired. The board members felt I had “become ineffective” because of the media smear campaign. “Unsatisfactory performance” was Arnold’s words. Arnold goes on to cite all the financial problems as “among the reasons cited by one or more board members” for my termination, but was careful to say “not all board members voiced all the reasons listed.” I, in fact, don’t recall any board member other than Arnold who thought I was responsible for Evans’ actions. Additionally, Arnold includes “failure to avoid confrontations with individual board members” as a reason for being fired. Besides being confrontational with Arnold, I had words with Saline County Sheriff Larry Davis, who later became one of Dan Harmon’s task force officers, and with Hot Spring County Sheriff Doyle Cook, who quit the board when he found out my task force was investigating him. The details of Davis and Cook are in The 1990 Federal Grand Jury Investigation. The reasons for having confrontations with Arnold, Davis, and Cook were obviously because they were in conflict with the task force doing its job, and I refused to pretend otherwise.
Gary Arnold has been the Seventh Judicial District Juvenile Judge since January 1, 1991. Of all the elected positions, a juvenile judgeship is the worst position for an incompetent or corrupt official to hold because the proceedings are closed to the public. I hope the people of the district will encourage someone with integrity to run against Arnold in the next elections for juvenile judge which, unfortunately, will not be for another two years. Gary Arnold is only one of the elected officials who need to be voted out of office, but you begin a journey by taking one step at a time. The voters of Saline County had the opportunity to rid itself of Dan Harmon this past May, by handing him a resounding defeat. That was a good first step.
Update: March 30, 1996
The Media’s Role in Federal Government Cover-ups
By Jean Duffey
Most Americans, regardless of their political persuasion, have an abiding distrust for our federal government. We know our national leaders lie to us, but we feel helpless to do anything about it. Forthright investigators are discredited for trying to reveal the truth, (See Investigators, Bill Duncan and Russell Welch) and whistle-blowers are punished, while “team-players” are rewarded. We hear about shredded or lost documents, but no one is held accountable. We are weary of Congressional hearings that tip-toe around the real issues or go into closed-door sessions in the name of “national security.” Our federal government has too much power, and we have none. Worse still, we are in a Catch-22 situation – power corrupts and we bestow that power via the polls.
Not too many years ago, news reporters seemed to do a better job of holding our leaders accountable. Our Constitutional right (and protection) of “freedom of the press” still exists, but it doesn’t seem to be doing much for us lately. That’s because our federal government controls the press. Oh please – not another conspiracy theory!
I truly hate to suggest a conspiracy explanation of anything. Mainstream Americans generally won’t buy it, and mainstream media’s favorite sarcastic topic for editorials, at least in Arkansas, is “conspiracy nuts.” (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Editorials “This week’s conspiracy theory” and “Conspiracies behind every rock“) So, imagine how vicious the suggestion of a conspiracy might be attacked by the media if they are accused of being involved themselves. However, I’m going to stick to this conspiracy theory, but bear with me – I will qualify the role of the media.
I think every American can accept as fact that our federal government is engaged in a deliberate and calculated cover-up of information. Federal officials, appointed and elected, have many secrets. Some secrets may be kept legitimately for purposes of national security, but some secrets are nothing more than a cover-up of the dirty deals and illegal activities of our officials. This is where the conspiracy begins – with dirty officials protecting themselves and other dirty officials, which expands to officials protecting their cronies for favors, which expands to staff members who are rewarded for their loyalty. This web of protection and deceit is next to impossible to escape. Those who have tried to expose it are handily discredited or even destroyed, because the government is in charge of investigating the government.
At one time, the media was supportive of a legitimate whistle-blower but not these days. That’s because they’re part of the conspiracy, and here is how I want to qualify that accusation. There are different levels of culpability, and I don’t believe the media deliberately participates in the conspiracy. They are, however, negligent and maybe even reckless. So, am I saying media reporters, editors, and producers/publishers are ignorant? No, I’m saying they’re lazy. So, am I accusing them of being unethical? Absolutely.
My notion revolves around the media’s acceptance of the government’s “official” position on a subject. Once a government agency has taken an “official” position, mainstream media, especially network news, will not challenge it. This is not just an observation, it is an unwritten policy confirmed by several seasoned reporters. The deaf, dumb, and blind acceptance of an “official” press release from the government fits very nicely into the American way of life – do as little as is necessary to get that paycheck. Put in your eight-hour day, but no longer without compensation. Exert enough effort to keep the boss off your back, and, by all means, don’t make waves.
My brother very eloquently describes today’s method of reporting as the three R’s – rip, read, and write. The government takes advantage of this three R’s method by employing their own news writers to feed the lazy media. There are a reported 10,000-plus federal employees who are responsible for inundating the media with press releases. Just think about that for a minute and try to imagine how many press releases are being sent every day to every major news media source in the world. All a reporter has to do is rip a news release off his fax, and he’s got his article for the day. And the real beauty of it is, he doesn’t even have to verify the information or its source. It doesn’t matter if the information is inaccurate or even a bald-faced lie – it’s an “official” statement from the government, so the reporter’s butt is covered.
On the other hand, what happens if an ambitious reporter wants to investigate the dubious subject of a government news release? He (or she) enters the game with three strikes against him. Strike one: The rest of the media has already given the government’s “official” position credibility by reporting it as factual. Strike two: The government agency who put out the release is the keeper of some, if not all, of the evidence proving the information is not accurate. Strike three: If the reporter discovers a fraud, the rest of the media attacks the work and defends their originally reported position (either because they have been made to look like lazy fools, or because they don’t want to disturb their cushy status quo three R’s method of getting information, or both).
Bottom line – a forthright investigative reporter who challenges the establishment will have hell to pay. Just ask Gary Webb, Micah Morrison, Chris Ruddy and Emmett Tyrrell, to name a few. This is not to say those reporters don’t make mistakes. After all, look what they’re up against. They had to dig up censored information the old-fashioned way; I believe they called it wearing out the shoe leather or something like that. Rather than giving these gritty reporters a pat on the back, the rest of the media turn on them. Instead of following up the investigative reporters information and joining the effort to dig for more, they attempt to discredit the reporter, and they take up the government’s banner and defend that ever-sacred “official” position.
January 20, 1996
Bill Temple, Assistant Special Agent in Charge
Federal Bureau of Investigation
10825 Financial Center Parkway
Little Rock, AR 72211
Dear Mr. Temple,
I have given a lot of thought and consideration to the meeting that my husband and I had with, agent Phyllis Cournan and your legal counsel, John Kelly on November 29, 1996. Upon reflection, two things are crystal clear. There was a lot of lying going on, on you part, and it was your intention from the outset to anger and insult.
As was obvious by my stomping out of the meeting in tears, you did, indeed, succeed in angering me and insulting my intelligence with your asinine statement that “in light of the fact that there is no evidence of anything, it is time that you considered the fact that a crime was never committed.”
As we both know, there is overwhelming evidence that two children have been murdered, but of who the murderers are, and of a huge conspiracy by officials to cover up the murders.
The following is a quote which I think is quite appropriate. “Nothing works against the success of a conspiracy so much as the wish to make it wholly secure and certain to succeed. Such an attempt requires many men, much time, and very favorable conditions. And all these in turn heighten the risk of being discovered. You see therefore, how dangerous conspiracies are.”
Francesco Guicciardini, 1528
Attachment: page 24, Dr. Joseph Burton’s autopsy report
To : I. C. Smith
Special Agent in Charge Arkansas FBI
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
Malvern Daily Record
KTHV NEWS CHANNEL 11
KARN NEWS RADIO 920
Update: June 29, 1997
Public Enemy No. 1
By Jean Duffey
“Our worst enemies here are not the ignorant and the simple, however cruel; our worst enemies are the intelligent and the corrupt.” -Graham Greene
AN ENEMY HAS BEEN CLEARLY DEFINED
Many visitors to our website have taken it upon themselves to contact several of the public officials involved with the train deaths case. One of those officials sometimes contacted is I.C. Smith, who is the head of the Arkansas FBI office. Some who have spoken with Smith were so appalled by what he said, they have called or e-mailed to tell us. To begin with, Smith purports that the FBI is “NOT CONVINCED THE BOYS WERE MURDERED.”
Is this stupidity or what? From January of 1994 to well into 1995, the FBI had an agent assigned full-time to investigate the murders. The investigation was shut down, not because there was a sudden determination that the boys weren’t murdered after all, but because it became impossible to ignore the Mena connection. Is Smith really expecting, or even wanting, us to believe that the FBI conducted an eighteen-month-long murder investigation before they determined there even was a murder? Rather than exposing the Mena drug-smuggling operation, the FBI wants us to believe that their incompetence amounts to idiocy.
Even if the boys’ bodies were never exhumed, and second autopsies were never performed, and a team of seven forensic experts did not agree and report that the signs of murder were clear, questions surrounding the case cries COVER-UP, and accidents are not covered up.
If the boys had accidentally laid down on the tracks and gotten themselves run over by a train, why have local, state, and federal agencies put money and manpower into seven seperate investigations spanning nearly a decade? What other accidental deaths have received that kind of attention? Why have these investigations been allowed to go forward just to be shut down suddenly when the inevitable connection to the Mena drug-smuggling operation is made?
How did Dan Harmon, now known to have been involved in the murders, just happen to be appointed by Judge John Cole to head the Saline County grand jury investigation of the murders? Why did Cole refuse to hear the complaints of the grand jurors that Harmon would not allow them to see the evidence and hear the witnesses they wanted? Why did at least seven witnesses turn up dead?
Why did U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks shut down a federal investigation after I took him information connecting the murders to a major drug operation involving public officials? Why did Banks clear Harmon when federal grand jurors were unanimously ready to indict him on drug-related charges? Why did Harmon’s RICO indictment exclude his involvement in the murders even though the FBI have three eye witnesses placing Harmon at the scene? Why have I been able to locate a fourth eye-witness that the FBI says they can’t find?
ENOUGH! We know why. It’s because those who have the power to call the shots do not want the crimes of Mena exposed. So, it has become I.C. Smith’s assignment to dispel any such notion that a crime was even committed. Lot’s of luck. Smith has got to be feeling like an imbecile for even making such a suggestion. That must be why he has other suggestions up his sleeve. Like, the boys were not all that wholesome, and the parents were not all that attentive.
I’m not making this up. I’m just repeating what sources have told me Smith said to them. And I can tell you, I am personally more offended by such slurs against Kevin and Don and their parents, than I am by Smith’s asinine statement that they were not murdered. For argument’s sake, let’s say the boys had been very troubled teens and that their parents did not supervise them properly. What is Smith’s point? Is he saying this somehow justifies their deaths?
Smith has been caught in numerous lies, he has attempted to generate bias against the parents of murdered children, and he has hinted that Kevin had a criminal record – if that was true, Smith would be breaking the law for disclosing a juvenile criminal record. Since it isn’t true, Smith is telling a slanderous, bald-faced lie.
Why do our tax dollars have to pay the salary of the likes of I.C. Smith? Fax or mail this update to Smith and FBI Director Louis Freeh. We have the right to let them know how we feel about such behavior from a high-ranking, high-salaried public official.
Do not doubt that each of you who takes the time to express your concerns can make a difference.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
Update: July 2, 1997
We’re Having An Effect
By Jean Duffey
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Until now, government officials have never had to deal with an informed public – the internet generation. Arkansas FBI Head Agent, I.C. Smith, is being put on the hot seat by readers of my latest update, “Public Enemy No. 1.” Smith doesn’t understand that, unlike talking to mainstream media, the internet medium will challenge his lies and half truths. If you missed it, you may read that update at http://www.idfiles.com/enemy-no-1.htm. The statements Smith made to internet comrade Chris Blau in a thirty-five minute telephone conversation yesterday are in response to that update. My comments follow Smith’s statements.
Smith says, there are only one or two witnesses placing Harmon on the tracks with the boys the night they were murdered, and one of them failed four or five polygraphs.
ONLY one or two witnesses! What does he mean, ONLY? Well, anyway, which is it – one or two? Neither, there are five witnesses that I know Smith knows about. Two of them are in prison. And guess who prosecuted them. Dan Harmon. Can you beat that? After U.S. Attorney Chucks Banks shut down the 1990 federal grand jury that was unanimously ready to indict Harmon, Harmon went after those two witnesses.
A third eye witness came forward to Linda Ives in 1993, was taken to the FBI, and passed a polygraph test. The FBI said the witness corroborated what they already knew, and a case file was opened. During that investigation, the agent in charge told Linda of a fourth witness; an ex-cop who participated in placing the bodies on the tracks. The fifth witness is one the FBI said they could not locate. I recently found out where he is, though, so how hard could it be?
Now, about the witness Smith says failed a polygraph four or five times. Well, which is it – four or five? Neither, it’s two. Smith is talking about Sharline Wilson, one of the two witnesses Harmon prosecuted after he was cleared by Banks.
Sharline, a confessed cocaine dealer, dated Harmon several years in the 1980’s. When Sharline lost custody of her son (by a previous marriage), she began to clean up her life. She gave testimony to the 1990 federal grand jury against Harmon, and later, she tells about driving Harmon to the tracks the night the boys were murdered. According to Sharline, Harmon left her with an eight-ball of cocaine which kept her high for several hours while she sat waiting in the car. Sharline says she knew the area was a drop zone for drugs but says she didn’t know what had happened that night until she heard about the boys the next morning.
After Banks cleared Harmon in June, 1991 of “all wrong-doing,” Harmon was not the only one still interested in Sharline. She was interrogated by several agencies, including the FBI, and says she often felt like she was being badgered and harassed. She volunteered to be polygraphed but became so upset during the pretest interview, the polygrapher said he couldn’t even get a positive reading when she stated her name. Failed polygraph number one.
The next time she was polygraphed was after she had been arrested by Harmon’s drug task force for what she says was “a set up.” She had been terrorized by Harmon and had been sitting in jail for months. The night before the test, she was transported to another facility where she spent the night in isolation. By then she was an emotional wreck, and claims she told them what they wanted to hear. She “confessed” to killing the boys herself. Failed polygraph number two.
It’s amazing that Smith would use those bogus test results to discredit a witness against Dan Harmon.
Smith says he is responsible for Dan Harmon’s conviction and is not being given credit.
Fine, if he wants credit for Harmon’s conviction, he’s got some explaining to do. Two of his own agents, one in a taped telephone conversation, said the FBI has known about Harmon’s illegal activities for years. Why did they wait to do anything about it until a small-town newspaper ran a story about Harmon’s ex-wife being caught with cocaine packages from his district’s evidence locker? The answer is in the question – it was reported in the newspaper. The feds (Smith, since he wants the credit) were forced to do something. They conducted an eighteen-month-long showy investigation which resulted in an eleven count indictment, but a conviction on only five counts. The government (Smith, since he wants the credit) should have asked for indictments for Harmon’s criminal activity ten years back which is allowed under federal RICO law. This would have given the case the strength of a mountain of evidence my task force had against Harmon. No excuse or explanation has been given for cutting Harmon’s indictment off at August of 1991, just a month after Banks held a press conference announcing there were no dirty public officials in Saline County.
Smith says he doesn’t doubt there was or is drug activity around Mena.
So, what is he doing about it?
Smith says he is not sure the FBI has the jurisdiction to investigate the murders.
This is one of the most incredible statements Smith makes repeatedly. The FBI has jurisdiction over any drug-related/public official-related crime. If the FBI’s jurisdiction was questionable, why was an agent assigned to work the case full-time for more than eighteen months? It wasn’t lack of jurisdiction that stopped the investigation. It was the link to the Mena drug-smuggling operation that caused that shut-down as well as six previous investigations of the murders, and is likely the real reason Harmon’s indictment didn’t include his involvement in the murders. (Smith can have credit for that, too.)
The tragedy of Kevin and Don’s murders is compounded by the government’s cover-up to hide it’s involvement in the drug trade. The tragedy is further compounded because it is far from being an isolated incident. Another of many is the murder of Tommy Burkett . If you aren’t familiar with Tommy’s story, please visit this website at http://www.clark.net/pub/tburkett/pacc/PACC.html. Their own struggle with the FBI to expose the truth has given them insight into an agency that most Americans still trust and value. Tom Burkett says: “The FBI is not in the business of truth; it is in the business of control.”
I believe, however, that we can force change. We must arm citizens with truth and confront officials with knowledge. Our public officials can no longer be sheltered by corporate media. They are having to face us, the internet generation. We’re on a roll, so we can’t stop now. Go to “Congress E-Mail” at http://www.idfiles.com/congr-list.htm and send the Senators and Representatives of your choice (all of them would be better) a copy of “Public Enemy No. 1” and my responses to I.C. Smith in this update. John F. Williams, an internet comrade, provided us with Congress’s E-mail list. He has already sent out “Public Enemy No. 1” with this message to our illustrious leaders: “For those of you who think that a conspiracy theory is a conspiracy theory, wake up, before it is too late.”
“Corruption flourishes in an atmosphere of tolerance that allows it to prevail.” – Capt. Frank Furillo
Update: August 2, 1997
Who is IC Smith: G-man, PR man or Con Man?
By Linda Ives
It seems that neither I nor anyone I know remembers who was head of the FBI in Arkansas before I.C. Smith. That is because, historically, Arkansans never heard or read anything about the head of the FBI — they kept a low profile. They did not grant media interviews, appear in photo ops and fluff newspaper pieces, nor pen guest writer articles in the newspaper. Not until Waco, Ruby Ridge, etc., and the case closest to my heart, the “Train Deaths”, and not until I.C. Smith came to Arkansas. Smith is obviously waging a very public and private PR campaign which includes lies and innuendoes about me and my dead child, Kevin Ives. It is evident from the smear campaign that Smith has launched against me that he considers me a grave threat, as well he should. There is no greater foe than a mother whose child has been mistreated. Smith’s strategy is strikingly similar to that of a sleazy criminal defense attorney who has no defense for their client — so they assassinate the character of the victim insinuating they got just what they deserved.
After being led to believe that arrests for the murder of my son were coming, I was outraged after my meeting in November, 1995 with Bill Temple, # 2 man in charge of the FBI in Arkansas who told my husband and I that “it was time we considered the fact that a crime had not been committed”. I decided to go public with the story and discussed the events with Chris Ruddy, a national reporter who did a story on it. Obviously smarting over the bad press, Smith, who had never even spoken with me, granted an interview with the Benton Courier, our little local newspaper, and stated that Temple “would never have made such a cold hearted statement” to me. This is the same thing as calling me a liar. Amazingly, Smith now routinely makes that same “cold hearted” statement to callers who have visited our website and then call him to demand action on the case.
Unfortunately for Smith, we got over the accidental ruling hurdle 9 years ago after a second autopsy was performed and a county grand jury ruled the deaths murders. Smith certainly has no medical credentials, so who is he to question the findings of three forensic pathologists and 7 forensic homicide investigators with an accumulation of over 100 years experience in homicides who all agreed it was clearly murder?
In that same Benton Courier newspaper article, Smith claimed that the FBI had not decided whether or not to open a case file on Kevin and Don because they did not know whether or not the FBI had jurisdiction in the case. The truth is, the FBI began investigating the case in December, 1993, if not sooner, when an eyewitness came forward placing Dan Harmon on the tracks the night of the murders. The FBI immediately placed the witness in protective custody and told John Brown that the witness’ testimony corroborated part of what they already knew. They also instructed John Brown to turn over his entire case file to the FBI, which he did. So who is the liar? Does Smith really expect the public to believe that the FBI would spend nearly two years investigating a case when they didn’t know whether or not they had jurisdiction? In a direct contradiction to his own previous statements, he now claims that the case is still on-going, but in the next breath, tells people he is not convinced the boys were murdered! So why would the FBI investigate an accident for nearly four years? Obviously Smith is not accustomed to dealing with an informed public. Thankfully, the internet has armed the American people with the powerful weapon of knowledge.
In conversations with some of my supporters, Smith has made outrageous statements for which he is going to have to answer for. For example, he claims that I have accused Curtis Henry, Don’s dad, of being involved in the murders. That is an outrageous LIE. I have NEVER stated that and do not believe that to be the case. Despite some very troubling questions in my own mind for years about Curtis Henry, I can unequivocally state that I have never, ever talked publicly or even privately, about Curtis Henry until he testified as a character witness FOR Dan Harmon in his recent trial. After his testimony, many people were puzzled about Curtis Henry’s support of Harmon and have questioned me about it. My response is that there are many disturbing connections and unanswered questions that need to be resolved. I happen to know that even the FBI was alarmed about Curtis’ public support of Harmon. Perhaps now the FBI will finally ask some questions they should have been asking years ago! Needless to say, I am not going to hold my breath.
Smith also claimed that Larry and I were lax in our supervision of Kevin. I can state with absolute certainty that if you talked to anyone who knows Larry and I, they would tell you that “lax” does not accurately describe our supervision of Kevin. I can also state with certainty that I.C. Smith has no statements or evidence to support his claims. Even if he did, what is Smith’s point? Kevin didn’t deserve to be murdered and my family doesn’t deserve the added trauma of Smith’s mudslinging.
In a recent telephone call responding to a radio station’s request for an interview about the case, Smith stated that he wasn’t going to talk about two little dead boys on a railroad track. When asked about an interview in regard to Mena drug smuggling, Smith stated that he wasn’t interested in doing an interview about that either because ” he wanted to live for a long time”.
My mistakes are many — at the top of the list was letting Kevin spend the night with Don, but I have no reason to lie. I certainly have nothing to gain, and everything to lose. So who is I.C. Smith? If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and most importantly, quacks like a duck, it usually is one. I.C. Smith is a common con-man masquerading as a G-man. I will be filing a formal ethics complaint against him with Washington in the very near future.
Update: September 10,1997
Good News Bad News
By Jean Duffey
It was a busy summer, and there’s much to report. This update has some “good” news and some “bad” news.
The “good” news: Arkansas’s chief FBI agent, I.C. Smith, plans to file a complaint against U.S. Attorney Paula Casey for not using all the information his office developed against Dan Harmon. This claim has renewed some folks’ faith in the FBI.
The “bad” news: Barry Seal’s brother-in-law, Billy Bottoms, claims to have testimony that will cause problems in the lawsuit Linda Ives plans to file against those responsible for the murder of her son. This has worried some folks who are hoping Linda will see justice served before another ten years passes.
The truth: I.C. Smith and Billy Bottoms are habitual liars; that’s apparently what they get paid for. They’re in the business of disinformation, and they might be successful if it weren’t for the exchange of information via the internet. For the many of you who are new to our website and update list, here’s a synopsis.
On August 23, 1987, Kevin Ives, 17, and Don Henry, 16, were murdered after stumbling upon a remote drug-drop zone in Saline County, Arkansas, near the city limits of Little Rock. The drugs were flown in from South/Central America in planes that were modified, repaired, and housed at the Mena, Arkansas Airport. Some solid facts: Modifications and repairs were paid for by the DEA, at least one plane belonged to the CIA, and some of the pilots have been verified or admit to being CIA operatives.
By the time the FBI officially opened it’s own case-file on the murders in early 1994, there had been six thwarted investigations (a county grand jury, two county sheriff’s departments under different administrations, the state police, a district drug task force, and a federal grand jury).
Linda Ives and I worked with the FBI for over a year in a truly forthright investigation, but when the inevitable connection to the Mena/CIA drug smuggling operation was made, I predicted another shut-down which came in Nov. of 1995. Linda and her husband Larry demanded a meeting with the FBI during which Agent Bill Temple told them there was no evidence and they should consider that a crime had not been committed.
This was when Linda and I went public. We authorized the documentary “Obstruction of Justice” and began promoting its sales to raise money for a civil suit. We developed our website, www.idfiles.com, and we use it, the internet, and talk-radio/television to confront government officials with every lie they utter. We began with the FBI.
Following the first public challenge I made against the FBI, I.C. Smith gave a newspaper interview on January 31, 1996, denying Temple told Linda and Larry that the FBI’s position was “no crime had been committed.” In essence, Smith called Linda a liar. Not a good move. Linda fired back, and Smith has been on the defense ever since.
Unfortunately for Smith, he frequently contradicts himself and his position vacillates constantly. He has been back and forth since the 1996 interview on whether the boys were even murdered and if they were, whether the FBI has jurisdiction to investigate. Smith has finally abandoned the utterly stupid suggestion that Kevin and Don’s deaths were accidental, but according to what we are hearing from those of you who have contacted him, Smith is still expressing doubts about jurisdiction. As I’ve said before, not even Smith is incompetent enough to allow an agent on a case full-time for over a year when there is no jurisdiction.
In some of his responses to you, Smith asks that you seek information about him and his position on this case from sources other than the internet (our website and updates). If he says this to any of you again, let him know that every public statement he has ever made about this case is on our website and ask him to to be specific about “other sources.”
Now, about his complaint against Paula Casey. Hog-wash. My source’s source supposedly got this information directly from Smith, but I don’t believe it’s true. I wouldn’t ordinarily pass along information that is from a second-hand source, but the complaint claim is the perfect example of how some people are sucked in by disinformation.
The complaint is supposed to be against Casey for not using all the information the FBI provided against Dan Harmon. I certainly agree there was much more, but a mountain of evidence against Harmon could have come from Linda Ives and me. There may not be two other people on earth who collectively know more about Harmon than we do, but Smith didn’t bother to send anybody to interview either of us. So where does he have the room to complain about the lack of evidence against Harmon?
Also, there is a tremendous amount of prosecutoral discretion involved in what evidence is used in a criminal case. Casey discarded and ignored evidence, but there isn’t much recourse. If there was, Linda and I would have been the first to file a complaint against her for not having Harmon indicted for his crimes all the way back to Kevin and Don’s murders. Our only recourse is public exposure. This is not to be confused with the obstruction of justice Casey’s predecessor, Chuck Banks, committed by shutting down a grand jury who had already heard enough evidence via Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Govar to indict Harmon in 1990, and was unanimously ready to do so.
So, what’s the deal with the bogus complaint claim? Just what I said. There are people who are gullible (actually ignorant) enough to believe Smith is trying to do the right thing. It’s part of his disinformation campaign, although I don’t believe he intended this to go public. He perhaps said it in private to pull a doubter back into the fold. And guess what. It worked. Some people never learn – even after 10 years.
Now, what about Billy Bottoms? There’s really not much I can say about “Da Bear” as my internet comrade, Larry, calls him. While Linda and I keep FBI Disinformant Smith in check, Larry and others like comrade Michael Rivero and Daniel Hopsicker, keep Disinformant Bottoms in check, and that is a massive undertaking. While Smith has other duties to perform, Bottoms has no other duty aside from writing volumes of disinformation and posting it to news groups on the internet.
Larry, nearly singled handedly discredited Bottoms to the point of Bottoms being of little or no concern to truth-seekers. It’s amazing that Bottoms still has the audacity to suggest he has information that will be a problem for Linda’s civil suit. I am so absolutely certain Bottoms has nothing – zilch, zero, zip – that I will personally see to it Bottoms gets the name, address, and phone number, of the defense attorney for whomever Linda sues. It will give me great pleasure to see Bottoms wasting their time with his tales. When Linda is ready to file her suit, it will not be too weak to withstand the lies of a pathetic, has-been, disinformant. It will have to have, and will have, the strength to withstand the lies of government authorities.
If you’re new to our update list, I welcome you and thank you for your interest and concern. If you’re an old friend, thanks for being patient. I’m weeks behind on reading and answering e-mail and on writing up-dates. As I settle back into my teaching schedule, I’ll catch you all up on what Linda and I accomplished this summer.
A special hello to my new Texan family. You know who you are.
Update: June 30, 1998
A Familiar Pattern
Investigate the whistle-blower
Protect the criminals
Linda Ives and Jean Duffey recently met with I.C. Smith, Chief of Arkansas’ FBI. The following letter from Jean Duffey to Smith describes the meeting and expresses her disgust.
* * *
June 29, 1998
I.C. Smith, Special Agent in Charge
Arkansas Federal Bureau of Investigation
Suite 200, Two Financial Centre
10825 Financial Centre Parkway
Little Rock, AR. 72211-3552
Dear Mr. Smith:
On Friday, May 29, Linda Ives and I visited you and Agent Michael Smith in your office. We wanted perjury charges filed against John Brown and were advised by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Govar to request an FBI investigation. Although Linda and I discussed the probability that our request to you would be a waste of time, we decided to comply with the recommended procedure.
Our accusation of perjury stems from a sworn affidavit signed by John Brown and used by the attorney for Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane in their defamation suit against Pat Matrisciana, the producer of the Obstruction of Justice video. All the elements of perjury are clear. The affidavit contained several lies that are materially detrimental to Matrisciana’s defense, and there is indisputable proof of the falsity of Brown’s statements. You did not ask for the production of our proof but said you would take our request to U.S. Attorney Paula Casey. You promised us a reply by early the next week, but we have not heard from you to date. Interestingly, however, you admitted that John Brown had called earlier and discussed the affidavit incident with you. Did you already have your mind made up to ignore our request?
While there, Linda and I advised you of new evidence in the murders of Don Henry and Linda’s son, Kevin. Although, I was miffed at your lack of interest at the time, I have become incensed upon reflection. When Linda and I explained that an eyewitness’s account has been corroborated, your response was, “I have difficulty with the second autopsy [performed by Dr. Joseph Burton], and I’m not convinced it sufficiently proves the boys were murdered.” To reiterate, we offered to lay out corroborated evidence of an eyewitness to murder, and you said you are not convinced a crime was committed. You further noted your “concern” that a jury would rely on the findings of Fahmy Malak’s autopsy. In the first place, Mr. Smith, Burton’s autopsy report reflects the determination of a team of expert forensic pathologists that the boys were murdered; in the second place, the deaths have been officially ruled homicides by a grand jury; in the third place, the asinine opinion of Malak has been completely destroyed. How dare you ignore the existence of an eyewitness, because, against all reason, you think Burton’s autopsy is not credible. Where, in God’s name, did you and Fahmy Malak receive your training?
I then took the opportunity to ask you the status of the FBI’s request that former U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks be charged with obstruction of justice for preventing Dan Harmon’s indictment by the 1990 federal grand jury. You were not in the Little Rock office in early 1994, when I learned of the recommendation, and you avoided a direct answer to my inquiry by claiming you have not seen anything about it “in writing,” but I pressed for an explanation. There was ample evidence against Harmon when Banks announced to the media that no evidence existed, and Bob Govar, who headed the 1990 investigation, has said he would testify that Banks lied. Linda and I were amazed at your response that “Mr. Govar should be investigated for failing to report a crime.” Then, as our conversation progressed, you admitted the FBI is also aware of evidence that Harmon has run a criminal enterprise since 1984. So, why do you suggest Govar be investigated for failing to report a crime of which you are also aware? We asked that question in the meeting, but you didn’t answer. Do you care to answer now?
Harmon’s April, 1997, indictment was under RICO, so he could have been charged with crimes ten years back, including his involvement in the August 23, 1987 murders of Kevin and Don. Even though an eyewitness came forward in 1993 and passed an FBI polygraph test placing Harmon on the tracks with the boys that night, Harmon’s indictment did not include any crime prior to August of 1991. I have always suspected the reason was to protect Banks, and you confirmed that to me. You said, “Paula Casey made the decision to not include the crimes for which Banks had already cleared Harmon, because Harmon would use that as a defense.”
I resent the excuses you and Paula Casey use to protect criminals, and the hammer you hold over the head of a whistle-blower. Bob Govar is willing to give testimony that Chuck Banks obstructed justice, and you want Govar investigated. How typical. Govar gets investigated, but Banks is protected. And, even though you have evidence that Harmon has been committing crimes since 1984, Paula Casey chose to ignore that evidence and protect Banks for providing Harmon with a defense. That defense, however, would not be available to Harmon if Banks were indicted. Harmon and Banks are both criminals and are both being protected.
You expressed concern that I might post on our website things you do or say that I don’t like. Since the purpose of our website is to expose the cover-up of the murders of Kevin and Don, you can be assured that your participation in protecting the criminals involved will be reported. You and Paula Casey have the power of the federal government behind you. You can decide who is to be punished and who is to be protected. I, however, have the power of the internet behind me, and I can report the truth in spite of attempts by the government to cover it up. Our website is making a record, and the truth will be accurately assessed by history.
If you wish to reply, I will be glad to have our webmaster post your response.
Jean K. Duffey
Upate: July 30, 1998
By Jean Duffey
I wrote an update Saturday night about I.C. Smith’s sudden and unexpected resignation from the FBI. It began:
On May 29, 1998, Linda Ives and I met with I.C. Smith, director of the Arkansas FBI. We addressed three issues: perjury charges against John Brown; obstruction of justice charges against Chuck Banks; and new evidence in the “train deaths” case.
Smith made some promises, some excuses, and some revealing statements during that meeting which I recounted in a letter to him on June 29. The letter was posted on our website and sent out as an update.
On July 23, Smith announced his retirement from the FBI.
I offered no explanations for Smith throwing in the towel but had to wonder if it was something I said. I elaborated for several more paragraphs, sent the final draft to our webmaster, Mark, who is also my brother, and went to bed, satisfied that I was continuing to keep our readers informed about the behavior of government officials involved in covering up the “train deaths” case.
Sunday morning, I had a rude awakening. Mark called at 7:00 to catch me before my family and I left town for two weeks. His voice was so calm, there was a momentary delay in my reaction to his words. After a cordial greeting, he said, “I was emailed a death-threat this morning. I believe it originated in Thailand.” The threat actually consisted of three emails, which Mark forwarded to me.
Mark and I have both received various threats before, but there is something very chilling in the phrasing of this message. Worse still, the sender is apparently not concerned that the email can be traced; perhaps even counting on it, which sounds to me like a drug-mob-type warning.
Mark refused to let me push the panic button. He insisted that we wait for his internet provider to verify the message origin. While we waited I did a lot of thinking.
Although Linda and I are the public voices for our website, we would be absolutely nowhere without Mark. His efforts are tireless, and he is relentless in his search for the truth. His command of information and his ability to make logical connections are amazing. It is Mark who keeps our message alive. He often carries the ball alone, and he has never faltered or fumbled.
If this death-threat is serious, and something in my gut tells me it is, I vow that if any harm comes to my brother, I will forge ahead with great vengeance.
After waiting two days, Mark received the following message from his provider:
“Unfortunately, I have very little information to add beyond what you have already discovered: the messages originated from hatyai.inet.co.th, a domain in Thailand. I looked at the domain’s web page, and it seems that the domain is a regional ISP serving southern Thailand. The corporate entity behind the domain was identified (sic)as follows:
“TAKSIN CYBERNET CORPORATION LIMITED
72/20 Niphatsongkraw 3 Rd., Hatyai Songkhla 90110 Telephone : 66-(074) 367456-7 Fax : 66-(074) 367457
“The APNIC registry lists the following contacts for that domain: Passakon Prathombutr mailto:email@example.com Wasan Pattara-atikom mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
“In any event, Southwestern Bell Internet does not have any information on users at the domain in Thailand.”
I convinced Mark to report the threat to the authorities but had a sinking feeling when I realized who he would have to contact. We are going to have to rely on the FBI to investigate the threat and to provide Mark protection. The best way I know to assure Mark gets competent service from the FBI is to keep you, our readers, informed of every move they make – or don’t make.
I feel extremely fortunate to have the encouragement, support and prayers of friends I have made through our website. Now, more than ever, I need all of the above. I will not be on-line again until I return home next month, so it will take me awhile to catch up on replying to my email, but I will. I cherish every one I receive.
Update: September 22, 1998
The FBI Stays True-To-Form
By Jean Duffey
Please forgive the tardiness of this update, but our kids needed attention this summer. Our daughter moved to Colorado and bought a run-down house, on which we spent the summer performing a miracle. When we got home, we had to get both of our sons enrolled in college. We have just now caught our breaths.
As to the business at hand, a lot and, at the same time, nothing has happened since Mark received his death threat. Thank God, there has been no sign of the threat being carried out. The reasons may be:
1) The threat was a hoax;
2) The threat was only intended to frighten us (it did), and to intimidate Mark to abandon our website (it did not);
3) Plans to carry out the threat were withdrawn because of the immediate and vast exposure it received on the internet;*
4) The power of your prayers protected Mark.**
One thing is certain, asking the Little Rock FBI to help was a waste of time. They have declined to investigate, seek prosecution, or offer Mark protection. But, why? Mark received an unequivocal death threat via an e-mail from Thailand – clearly a crime under FBI jurisdiction, and having the e-mail traced would take little more than a phone call to the FBI field office in Bangkok. Yet, in a letter to Mark, FBI Agent Brenton L. Mosher says the FBI will do nothing to investigate or seek prosecution of the threat.
The reason, of course, is that ANY CRIME CONNECTED IN ANY MANNER, EVEN DISTANTLY, TO THE MURDERS OF KEVIN AND DON WILL BE IGNORED BY THE GOVERNMENT. Although Linda and I are careful not to make statements that could discredit us, there is no other reasonable explanation for the continued cover-up of the murders and protection of the killers – an assumption we have made based on circumstances. Now, however, we have confirmation, in writing, from the FBI.
Agent Mosher wrote to Mark: “The threats you received, from Thailand via the Internet e-mail, based upon your theory that the Kevin Ives and Don Henry murders were connected to a major drug smuggling operation was presented to the United States Attorney’s Office. The United States Attorney has declined prosecution in this matter. As a consequence, the FBI will not be conducting an investigation in this matter.”
There it is – in black and white – from the FBI – the mere theory that Mark’s death threat is connected to the murders of Kevin and Don prevents an investigation by the FBI and prosecution by U.S. Attorney Paula Casey. The written communications between Mark and the FBI can be read in their entirety at the below links.
After receiving Mosher’s letter, Mark called the FBI office in Houston and spoke with an investigative analyst who said it is not normal procedure to go to the U.S. Attorney before a case has been investigated. An FBI agent in Sacramento agreed. Both offices concurred that an investigation is normally conducted before a case is presented to the U.S. Attorney’s office. After acquiring this information, Mark called Mosher and requested an explanation for the statements in his letter. Mosher could not come up with an explanation, got irritated, acted unprofessional, and hung up on Mark. Mark recorded the conversation, and for your added entertainment, you can listen to Mosher blowing his cool at the audio link below.
Our victories may be small, but the least we can accomplish through our website is to expose the injustices issued by our government and the jerks who are its representatives. Agent Mosher is this update’s feature jerk. You may want to send him a congratulatory fax at 501-228-8509.
* I was astonished by the speed and volume of posts throughout the internet of my July 30, update about Mark’s death threat. It exhibited an overwhelming united front that would cause anyone pause before carrying out the threat.
** Mark and I were both deluged with e-mails of support and prayers. It will be impossible to reply to them all, but we want every single person who took the time to write to know that we felt the depth of your concern and derived strength from your encouragement.
Update: February 1, 2021
Tribute to Pat
By Jean Duffey
Linda met Pat Matrisciana, a California documentary filmmaker, when he was in Little Rock filming interviews of people who were not fans of then-Governor Bill Clinton. The production was to become the very popular and lucrative “Clinton Chronicles” documentary. At the time, Linda didn’t fit into the category of “Clinton-haters,” and she didn’t link the murders of her son, Kevin, and his friend, Don, to Clinton, other than Clinton’s inexplicable support of State Medical Examiner Famy Malak who stupidly ruled the boys were in a marijuana-induced stupor and didn’t hear the train coming. Pat’s instinct, however, led him to think there was much more to Clinton’s involvement than that, and he invited Linda to tell her story. That’s something Linda was always willing to do. At that time, she was the paramount voice crying for justice for the murders of her son and Don.
After the “Clinton Chronicles” was on the market, Pat reached out to Linda and Jean Duffey with an offer to make a documentary about their struggles to expose deliberately botched investigations of the murders. Pat agreed to leave politics out of it, and he gave Linda and Jean editorial control. It’s hard to imagine a filmmaker giving up control to two women he didn’t know very well, but his instincts always served him well, and he kept his word.
To begin the project, Pat went back to Arkansas to film. He wanted Linda and Jean to meet Russell Welch, a state police investigator, and Bill Duncan, an IRS investigator, who had been assigned to probe Barry Seal and his operations at the Mena, Arkansas airport. Again, Pat’s instinct told him the stories were connected. Russell and Bill agreed to an interview and became part of the documentary, “Obstruction of Justice: The Mena Connection.”
By this time, all official investigations into the murders of Kevin and Don had been shut down, so Linda and Jean were on their own, with no official investigative authority. They did, however, now know the main players in the actual murders. Without hesitation, Pat endorsed naming them, in the documentary. A visual across the screen of the film reads:
SUSPECTS IMPLICATED IN IVES/HENRY MURDERS AND COVER-UP
- DAN HARMON, Prosecutor
- RICHARD GARRETT, Deputy Prosecutor
- JIM STEED, Sheriff
- JAY CAMPBELL, Officer
- KIRK LANE, Officer
- DANNY ALLEN, Officer
Linda and Jean knew the evidence was there to back the accusation, but things didn’t often go the way they should when looking for justice in Arkansas. That did not deter Pat. Jean says, of him, “If he believed something was the right thing to do, he did it without hesitation or fear.”
Pat flew Linda and Jean to California to work with his partner on many projects, David Minasian, one of California’s most gifted editor’s. Also on board was Emmy-winning producer, Nancy Kurrack.
When the documentary was released, Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane filed a defamation suit against Pat, each asking for $635,000 in damages. The case went to a jury trial. The judge disallowed much of the evidence Pat’s lawyer tried to present to the jury, and the jury found in favor of the plaintiffs. Pat filed an appeal with the Eighth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, which reversed the jury’s decision stating that the plaintiff’s had the burden to disprove the statement but they offered no evidence that met even the lowest burden. And because the jury’s finding was reversed on appeal, Linda or Jean or anyone else can say or write, without fear of reprisal, that Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane are suspects in the murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry. Linda and Jean are forever grateful to Pat for his convictions to “do the right thing,” and they will never forget him for his insight.
A few days after suffering a stroke, Pat died peacefully in his sleep on March 18, 2020. He was a warrior for justice!
Judicial Watch: February 1, 2021
Mysterious Mena: Death of a Patriot
By Micah Morrison
I first met Russell Welch at a cheap motel on the outskirts of Mena, Arkansas, in the summer of 1994. It was a searing hot day and I had left the door open for some air and I heard a car slowly drive across the gravel and stop. I looked up and Russell’s gaunt shadow crossed the doorway.
He was no one’s idea of an Arkansas State Police investigator. Lean, with long brown hair and a handlebar mustache, soft-spoken, his face ravaged by anthrax that almost killed him in 1991, Russell had found himself on a case he never wanted and in the middle of a storm. The case was the investigation of drug smuggler Barry Seal and his activities at remote Mena Airfield in western Arkansas. The storm was Seal’s connections, real and imagined, to a network of government officials and their enablers, including the then-president of the United States, Bill Clinton.
Wall Street Journal editor Robert L. Bartley had sent me to Mena to figure out what was going on. CBS had been there before me. A legion of journalists and con men and grifters and government investigators would follow.
The Mena story is part of the cultural conspiracy landscape now. You can read about Judicial Watch’s latest investigation here, and find more background on the case here. Or you can watch the movie starring Tom Cruise. Or the other movie starring Dennis Hopper.
Russell believed that the conspiracy mischief that engulfed Mena was mainly due to Terry Reed’s book, “Compromised: Clinton, Bush, and the CIA.” It spins a vast, largely fictional tale about a drugs-for-money-for-guns conspiracy involving Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, infamous CIA operatives, Arkansas associates of the Clintons, Oliver North, Seal, Reed himself, Reagan Administration figures, the FBI, the Justice Department, members of Congress, criminals, Contras, cocaine cowboys, and a partridge in a pear tree.
But as Bartley recognized, most conspiracy theories contain a grain of truth, maybe even a few grains of truth. So he sent me down to Arkansas to look for it.
Russell Welch was not fooled. “From the very beginning, I have said that Reed was making stuff up,” Russell wrote me last year. “He was lying about Mena.” Russell had the details and the evidence on Reed.
Russell was the best kind of investigator—one who hates lies and is stubborn about the truth. He played by the book. It got him into trouble.
As the Arkansas State Police investigator based in Mena and tasked with monitoring Mena Airfield, Russell was assigned the Seal case around 1985, about the time one of Seal’s confederates was killed in a nearby plane crash. He quickly discovered that Seal had set up shop in Mena and was using the remote airfield as part of a smuggling network running cocaine from Colombia.
He also discovered that the Drug Enforcement Agency was already on to Seal. Seal had flipped and was cooperating with federal authorities.
Separately at Mena, and unconnected to Seal, other federal entities were running training exercises in the Ouachita Mountains and servicing aircraft used on clandestine missions at Mena Airfield. Judicial Watch disclosed last year that two of the federal entities were the CIA and the Defense Department.
“I did not want to investigate the Seal [case],” Russell wrote me. “I knew it was out of my league and the DEA should do the investigation.” But he was ordered to open a criminal investigation into Seal’s drug smuggling and money laundering.
“I started the criminal investigation,” Russell wrote. “I conducted it like any other investigation. I found that Seal had been [secretly] indicted in two different jurisdictions in Florida. He became a snitch for DEA Group 7 in Miami. His [immunity] period started in March of 1984. I knew that I had to keep my investigation focused on events prior to that. Anything that Seal…did after that date could have been part of a legitimate [DEA] investigation.”
Partnering with an IRS investigator, Bill Duncan, Russell compiled significant evidence of Seal’s drug smuggling and money laundering. “I did everything by the book,” Russell wrote. “When I finished the bulk of my investigation, there were no conspiracy theories floating around, yet. That started with Terry Reed.”
But the case developed by Russell and Bill Duncan went nowhere, killed by federal stonewalling and foot-dragging. A sinister conspiracy? Or something more mundane, like turf wars over witnesses and evidence? It was never entirely clear. But Russell and Bill persisted, and their careers suffered.
In 1986, Seal was murdered in Baton Rouge by Colombian gunmen. Later that year, a C-130 linked to Seal was shot down over Nicaragua with a load of guns for the Contra rebels, dragging a Mena interface into the Iran-Contra affair. In 1994, “Compromised” began to circulate, dragging the Clinton White House into the conspiracy.
Russell retired in 1996, but he never escaped the story. He was pursued by journalists, detectives, TV and documentary producers, authors promising book deals, conspiracy theorists, mooks, kooks, and menacers. For the most part, he kept silent, but he continued to work the case, taking notes, compiling evidence, documenting lies and discrepancies. He died in October, with his wife and his two sons at his side . He was 72. Let the record reflect that in addition to being a devoted husband and father and grandfather, Russell Franklin Welch loved to read and play the guitar, held a Master’s Degree in English, and served with distinction as an Army medic in the Vietnam War.
“The biggest regret in my life is not quitting law enforcement and spending more time with my children,” Russell wrote. “Seeing the hurt in their eyes, so many times, as I had to stop playing with them and go to work, was unbearable. Telling them that I would not be able to watch them at certain school functions, because I had to go to work, broke my heart. It still breaks my heart, and I think about it every day. While I was working on the Seal case, I was, also, conducting other investigations: murder, rape, robbery, and so on. I was busy all the time.”
That first day with Russell in Mena in the summer of 1994, we sat in the plastic chairs outside my motel room and talked a while. That case of anthrax that nearly killed him? The doctors never could figure out where it came from. One doctor had blurted out it was an infection caused by “military grade” anthrax, but Russell was cautious, not assigning blame, and later tests were inconclusive. Anthrax certainly caught the attention of Bartley at Journal, who brought it up with me many times over the years. And Russell had enemies. The Seal case. Murder, rape, robbery, and so on.
Later that day, we drove up into the Ouachita Mountains to take a look at one of Seal’s landing strips cut into the deep woods. I brought a metal detector, hoping to find some sort of journalistic treasure. Russell brought an AR-15 assault rifle. It crossed my mind that he could just shoot me and bury me in the mountains and be done with the troublesome Yankee. This was mysterious Mena, after all, and I was far from home. But you’ve got to know who to trust.
“Here,” Russell said, handing me the AR-15 and taking a camera from the trunk of the car, “let’s take a picture.”
I had a copy of that picture for years. So did Russell. That too is evidence.
Investigative Bulletin is published by Judicial Watch. Reprints and media inquiries: email@example.com
Reproduced with Permission.