[Ppnews] Framed by the FBI: A dozen reasons the 'Omaha Two' deserve a new trial - Part 2

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Mar 3 10:26:10 EST 2009


Original Content at 
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Framed-by-the-FBI--A-doze-by-Michael-Richardson-090303-460.html

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March 3, 2009

Framed by the FBI: A dozen reasons the 'Omaha Two' deserve a new trial - Part 2

By Michael Richardson


[]
 Omaha Police officer Marvin McClarty

On August 17, 1970, an Omaha, Nebraska policeman, 
Larry Minard, was murdered in an ambush bombing 
at a vacant house.  Two men, Edward Poindexter 
and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice), are 
serving life sentences at the Nebraska State 
Penitentiary for his killing.  The pair were 
leaders of Omaha's chapter of the Black Panther 
Party.  Most people assume justice was done in 
the case and little effort has been made by the 
news media to dig into the hidden aspects of the crime.

Poindexter has a new trial request pending before 
the Nebraska Supreme Court and an examination of 
the record, much of it still hidden by Federal 
Bureau of Investigation censors, reveals a dozen 
reasons to question the outcome of the trial.

New Trial Reason Three:  Conflicting police 
testimony about dynamite--Jack Swanson

At the murder trial, a detective, Jack Swanson, 
alleged he found dynamite in the basement of 
Mondo we Langa's residence.  Swanson's story was 
that he found the dynamite and that another 
detective, Robert Pheffer was with him.  However, 
Pheffer testified he never went down into the 
basement and first saw the dynamite when Swanson 
carried up the stairs.  The jury did not find the 
discrepancy significant enough to acquit the 
defendants.  What the jury didn't know is that 
Pheffer would, years later, contradict his own 
trial testimony and claim, under oath, that he 
was the first one down in the basement and he found the dynamite not Swanson.

Omaha police officer Marvin McClarty was on duty 
the night of the search of Mondo's 
house.   McClarty's suspicions that the dynamite 
was planted by the detectives were aroused that 
night.  In the 1980's McClarty told a British 
film crew about his suspicions.  "I had feelings 
they were out to get those two because they were 
probably the two that were the most vocal, they 
were the two the people viewed as guilty, the police did."

"I was on duty; we saw them bringing items out of 
the house.  The thing that was so striking to me 
and to those two officers I was with was the fact 
the police had blocked off 29th to 30th on Parker 
Street, and they blocked that off to vehicular 
traffic and to pedestrian traffic.  Then they 
said they found something in the house.  To me 
and the other police officers, the first thing 
that strikes you that maybe is something is wrong 
here because of the way that search was 
conducted.  That was when we drew our suspicions 
that it could have been something that was 
planted in that house.  To this day I still 
believe it was planted in that house."

Swanson is dead now but before his death, he told 
the same British film crew about his role in the 
dynamite discovery stumbling over his words in a 
confusing contradiction of his trial 
testimony.  "I was there, I found it, I didn't 
personally discover it but I was there when it 
was discovered and went right to where it was.  It was there."

At the time of the search Swanson was in charge 
of another case against three men stopped in July 
with dynamite, a case kept out of the 
news.  Conflicting police accounts of the amount 
of explosives seized could have left Swanson with 
as many as nine unaccounted sticks of dynamite at 
the time of the search of Mondo we Langa's house.

Swanson closed his interview with the British 
film crew with a vague and cryptic, "I still think we did the right thing."

New Trial Reason Four:  Conflicting police 
testimony about dynamite--Robert Pheffer

Detective Robert Pheffer not only contradicted 
Jack Swanson at trial over whether or not he was 
in the basement of Mondo we Langa's house, he has 
since contracted his own trial testimony about who found dynamite.

At a 2007 hearing to consider Ed Poindexter's 
request for a new trial, Pheffer testified he was 
first one down in the basement and he found 
dynamite.  When confronted by Poindexter's 
attorney, Robert Bartle, over the discrepancy 
between his 1971 testimony and his 2007 
testimony, Pheffer became noticeably flustered 
and denied his own trial testimony claiming "the 
court reporter, somebody got it wrong."

Pheffer's new claim to have found the dynamite 
brings into question other 'evidence' allegedly 
found by the Omaha detective in the course of the 
investigation.  Pheffer has testified to the 
discovery of other bomb-making supplies at two 
locations--claims not supported by the trial 
record or any police reports.  Thus, the question 
of Pheffer's credibility hinges on whether or not 
police destroyed or hid evidence of bomb-making 
equipment allegedly found by Pheffer at two 
different locations.  At the District Court where 
Pheffer's contradictions were on full display, 
Judge Russell Bowie dismissed the problem police testimony.

Judge Bowie wrote: "Other than the conflicting 
reports about who found the dynamite in Rice's 
[Mondo we Langa] basement, there is no evidence 
to suggest the dynamite was planted by 
police.  The bottom line is that dynamite was 
found in Rice's basement, who found it is immaterial."

Bowie did not address at all Pheffer's other 
'discoveries'.  At Mondo we Langa's house Pheffer 
testified he found in a bedroom closet three gray 
Samonsite attaché cases with wires sticking out 
of them.  Pheffer claims after finding the three 
attaché cases, a rope was passed through the 
handles and "lead it out the bedroom through the 
front room, outside the steps" where the cases 
were opened when they did not detonate.

Pheffer's dramatic discovery of wired attaché 
cases was not mentioned at trial nor were 
purported bomb parts introduced as 
evidence.  Pheffer didn't bother to enter the 
attaché cases into the inventory list of the 
search.  Nor did any other officer.  Pheffer is 
the sole witness to 'evidence' he now claims to 
have found that somehow disappeared without a trace.

Pheffer also claims he found another attaché case 
with wires at the Panther headquarters.  Pheffer 
insists he found "an attaché case in the front 
room with wires and a clothespin attached to 
it."  Yet once again, Pheffer failed to log in 
the attaché cases or even record it on the search 
inventory list.  No other officers filed reports 
or testified about the wired case and it was not produced at trial.

Pheffer's vanishing attaché cases and altered 
testimony about entering the basement during the 
dynamite search suggest perjury and yet his 
conflicting testimony was deemed 'immaterial' by Judge Bowie.

***
Permission granted to reprint

Author's Bio: Michael Richardson is a freelance 
writer based in Boston. Richardson writes about 
politics, law, nutrition, ethics, and music. 
Richardson is also a political consultant.




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