Sorting Out Contrived Scenarios
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Scenario #1: Sharline's Coersed Confession - Podcast Interview with Doc Washburn
By Abby Lee, Staff Volunteer
One of the documents that is most asked about on the “Justice for Kevin Ives and Don Henry” Facebook page is Sharline Wilson’s “confession,” which was contrived by Saline County law enforcement. Sheriff Judy Pridgen and Deputy John Brown made a clumsy attempt to take credit for solving the murders with a falsified confession that was coerced out of Sharline.
In 1993, Sharline had been sentenced to 32 years for a small amount of cocaine, which her young son said he saw deputies put into Sharline’s purse during a raid on their home. Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned her conviction finding that Prosecutor Dan Harmon, retaliated against Sharline, because she testified against him to a federal grand jury. Once out of prison after serving 6 years, Sharline slipped into anonymity, and tried to put the past behind her. Sharline and Jean stayed in touch for decades, when 2 years ago, Sharline thought she was succumbing to lung cancer (which is now in remission) and wanted her kids and grand kids to know the truth about how she was coerced into signing a false confession. She agreed to record a podcast interview with Doc Washburn. When Sharline sat down with Doc, she saw the “confession” for the first time. She explains to Doc how she was taken to Faulkner County jail without authorization of any kind, and was not allowed to call her attorney. Pridgen dropped her off where she was physically and psychologically abuse for 2½ days and coerced into signing a false confession. Sharline tells Doc of her ordeal in detail and in her own words.
Sharline’s Interview Part 1 – Doc Washburn (34 minutes)
Sharline’s Interview Part 2 – Doc Washburn (23 minutes)
Interview with Jean Duffey
By Abby Lee, Staff Volunteer
Jean Duffey's Thoughts on Sharline's "Confession"
For decades after her release from prison, Sharline’s story about the night the boys were killed was simple and consistent. She never deviated from what she told Jean Duffey about that night. She said that she and Dan were hanging out that afternoon at her mobile home and snorting cocaine. Although Sharline doesn’t recall the time, sometime after dark, Dan got a phone call. The call was short. Dan hung up and told Shaline to get dressed and get in her car. Dan drove the two of them to the tracks and parked down a railroad signal access road off of Earl D. Miller Lane in Alexander, AR (see aerial map). No one else went with them, and there were never plans with anyone to rip off Dan. She said she doesn’t remember writing that first page, but she may have. After 2½ days without food and just a few sips of soda, her mind was foggy and she couldn’t really grasp what was happening.
Shaline doesn’t recall if someone dictated to her what to write or if she copied from a paper that was already written. If one studies the “confession” closely, it appears that there are 2 different writers, but that is speculation. Sharline firmly believes, however, that some of the pages are not in her handwriting, and she has no idea what the scratching on the last page is about.
Jean points out that the contrived confession clearly wanted to protect Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane, but not Dan Harmon. Also, Sharline has always said that when Dan drove her to the tracks, he threw her an 8 ball of cocaine and told her to stay in the car. Sharline says she was happy to do so and stayed put, which is fortunate because she was able to corroborate Tommy Niehouses’s story about being in the woods along the tracks with 2 friends when he saw Dan Harmon, Freddy Poe, Keith McKaskle, and an unknown girl meeting Keivn and Don on the tracks during that time period. Sharline’s description of 2 teenage boys running out of the woods, followed by a younger boy several seconds later is identical to what Tommy said happened.
Somewhere around 2 hours later, Sharline said that Harmon came running back to the car, opened the trunk to her car, and pulled out a green tarp she had thrown in the week before when she moved into her trailer house. Without saying a word, Harmon took off running back to the tracks. This corroborates the train crew’s insistence of a green tarp that was covering the boys when they were hit by the train. There was a huge pushback from Saline County Deputies about the existence of a tarp, telling the train crew that it was an optical illusion. The men knew what they saw and never waivered or doubted that the tarp existed.
From that point of the “confession,” Jean believes someone who knew very little about what actually happened contrived the events. Jean does not believe that Keith McKaskle stabbed and killed Don. It was, after all, McKaskle who went to visit Richard Garrett and apparently told him what he knew had happened on the tracks that night. Tommy Niehouse put McKaskle walking on the tracks with Harmon when they met Kevin and Don walking toward them, so McKaskle likely was present when Jay Cample and Kirk Lane took the unconscious boys (maybe already dead) to Hamon.
After McKaskle left Garrett’s office, he went home, told his girlfriend that he talked to the wrong person, and that his life was in danger. He told her to move out immediately and not come back until he told her she could. That night he was stabbed 113 times.
No part of what Linda and Jean know about what happened on the tracks aligns with the ”confession” and is not convincing, which is likely the reason that Sheriff Judy Pridgen and Deputy John Brown never got credit for “solving the murders.”
Tommy Niehouse states what he saw on the tracks that night.
Linda explains the story of Tommy Niehouse in this podcast.
Eyewitness Polygraphed But Ignored (14 minutes)
RR Signal Access Rd From Earl D Miller Ln, Alexander, AR, 72002
Sharline has taken Linda and Jean to the Railroad Signal Access Road, where she sat in her car the entire time Harmon was on the tracks. The aerial map shows that the partial road no longer exists past the signal lights, but in 1987, the road continued for another 100 yards or so.
Scenario #2: The Calloway Contrived Scenario
By Abby Lee, Staff Volunteer
The Calloway Scenario may not have been entirely contrived. It may have had legitimate roots but its growth was very much contrived to take the focus off of Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane. James Calloway owned a used car business and was a well-know drug dealer in the Alexander area. Finis Criswell worked for Calloway and was also know as a drug dealer as well as his sons.
Calloway and his ex-wife were on friendly terms and he sometimes kept a stash of drugs at her mobile home. The federal grand jury investigation of public official corruption in Saline County, heard from witnesses who had seen or heard anything about the murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry. Some of that testimony included information about two boys who supposedly robbed Calloway’s stash from his ex’s home just before midnight of the morning Kevin and Don were killed. It was assumed that the robbers were Kevin and Don. Katie Brightop testified that she overheard conversations between the Criswell brothers that in hindsight sounds like deliberate attempts to plant the story for Brightop to repeat, which she did to Bob Govar and before his grand jury.
From there, the stories grew and got less likely, but collectively they went something like this: After the robbery, the two Criswell brothers got orders from Callaway to hunt down the boys. They did so, and took them to a shack near the tracks, killed them, wrapped them in a rug and put them on the tracks. Several points make this scenario not believable.
One – Kevin and Don split up around 10:30 that night. Kevin went to see his friend, Tim McCauley, to play video games. Tim’s mother, Nina, said Kevin left around midnight. She told this to Linda about a week after Kevin’s funeral and wanted Linda to know how much she appreciated how kind Kevin was to Tim who was a bit socially awkward. There is not information about where Don was during the time he and Kevin split up, or who the second boy might have been if Don was in on the robbery. State Police Detective Don Birdsong (seemed to be forthright in the beginning of the state police investigation) verified that Kevin and Don had split up during this time period, and that it was widely believed that Don and another boy did indeed rob Callaway, but no credible evidence that Linda or Jean have one way or the other.
Birdsong speculated to Linda that either Don invited Kevin to be in on the robbery and Kevin declined, or Don didn’t invite Kevin in on the robbery. The latter makes more since, because it seems unlikely that Kevin would not have met up with Don again if he knew Don had planned to steal drugs.
Two – The eye-witnesses who saw Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane physically accost Kevin and Don, rendering them incapacitated, do not fit in this scenario at all, which is likely the reason this was the favorite scenario of Bob Govar. In fact, Govar which he coaxed some of his less astute investigators to develop the Callaway scenario, which Linda and Jean believe was to try to divert suspicion away from his good friends Campbell and Lane. The witnesses who saw Kevin and Don assaulted by Campbell and Lane were Keith Coney, who Campbell and Lane saw take off on his motor cycle when they drove up on Kevin and Don at the phone in front of the Ranchette Grocery. Coney later had his throat cut. Ronnie Godwin, which the state police spent a great deal of effort trying, without success, to discredit. Jerry LNU who could not be located, but went to GiGi’s Bar and told the manager, Mike Crook, the identical story Godwin told the state police. See more information about Ronnie Godwin and other witnesses in “Witnesses“.
There was no police report, of course. Drug dealers don’t expect the cops to retrieve their stolen drugs for them, however, Callaway and Richard Garrett, then assistant prosecuting attorney, were good friends. Callaway likely called Garrett, and Garrett likely called Harmon. This is a whole lot of speculation on my part until 2016, when I began exchanging information with Saline County Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Silk about the murders of Kevin and Don. Silk believed that Callaway was robbed by 2 boys and believed one of them was Kevin, until told him about Tim McCauley’s mother telling Linda that Kevin was at her house during the time of the robbery.
Silk was a retired DEA agent, moved to Lake Hamilton, and took a job as a communications deputy in March, 2015. Silk contacted me in mid 2016 saying that he had taken an interest in the murders of Kevin and Don. On his own time, he had been organizing the case file, which consisted of several jumbled up boxes. We talked extensively on the phone and visited when I was in Arkansas. I didn’t keep anything from him, but as has come to be predictable, Silk faded away.
Scenario #3: Con-Artist Billy Jack Haynes
By Jean Duffey
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. He could have found most of his correct information 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 this 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 background, “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. Later, we learned that he tried, but he never passed a polygraph test.
He has earned the nickname “Billy Whack Haynes.” Enough said.
You might enjoy a documentary produced by our website contributor, Ron Dane. As always, every fact is well documented. After viewing the film, you will understand and probably agree how we gave Haynes his nickname, “Billy Whack Haynes.”