[Ppnews] Mondo we Langa appeals 1971 COINTELPRO case over new evidence

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Jun 24 19:07:37 EDT 2010

Mondo we Langa appeals 1971 COINTELPRO case to Eighth Circuit over new evidence

June 24, 12:17 PM · Michael Richardson - COINTELPRO Examiner

Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) has filed an 
application with the United States Court of 
Appeals for the Eighth Circuit seeking permission 
for a hearing in U.S. District Court on new 
evidence. Mondo, a former leader of the Omaha, 
Nebraska chapter of the Black Panthers called the 
National Committee to Combat Fascism, is serving 
a life sentence for the August 17, 1970 bombing murder of an Omaha policeman.

Mondo we Langa’s case is at the confluence of 
judicial activism by Chief Justice Warren Burger 
and COINTELPRO abuses by J. Edgar Hoover, 
director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
Burger decided to use Mondo’s case to roll back 
the “Warren Court” era and deprive prisoners of 
habeas corpus protection in federal courts when 
state courts are available.  Hoover had targeted 
Mondo for counterintelligence actions and 
personally approved the withholding of a FBI 
crime lab report on the 911 call that lured 
policeman Larry Minard to his death to make a case against Mondo.

Mondo was implicated in the murder by the 
confessed 15 year-old killer, Duane Peak who also 
claims to have made the 911 call, and by dynamite 
supposedly found in Mondo’s basement. Steadfastly 
denying any involvement in the crime, Mondo 
remains imprisoned four decades later.

The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered 
a new trial for Mondo back in the 1970’s over the 
search of his house but the Supreme Court denied 
the order in a consolidated case, Stone v. 
Powell. Mondo’s case was the immediate proof that 
Stone v. Powell was going to have lasting 
negative implications for prisoners when his case was not heard on the merits.

New scientific testing of the 911 tape revealed 
that it was not Duane Peak who made the call as 
he testified, leaving an unknown killer at large. 
The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled last year in the 
case of co-defendant Ed Poindexter, also serving 
a life term, that the tape wasn’t critical 
information for the jury. However, the voice of 
the killer is something that just will not go 
away and is the subject, in part, of Mondo’s 
petition for habeas corpus filed last week in U.S. District Court.

Mondo’s attorney, Timothy Ashford of Omaha, 
reveals some other new information the 1971 jury also never knew.

“Several unusual events have occurred throughout 
the course of Mondo’s proceedings that cast 
aspersion upon his jury verdict. First, 
approximately one month before the explosion, one 
of the primary investigative officers from the 
Omaha Police Department, Sgt. Jack Swanson, 
stopped three black men in north Omaha and seized 
from the trunk of their vehicle a case of DuPont 
Red Cross dynamite. All three men were charged 
with felony possession of explosives, but each 
had their case dismissed approximately one week 
after the jury found Mondo guilty in the spring of 1971.”

“Coincidently, on August 22, 1970, Sgt. Jack 
Swanson claimed to have also found a case of the 
exact same type of dynamite in the basement of Mondo’s house.”

“Sgt. Jack Swanson testified at Mondo and 
co-defendant Poindexter’s trial that he was the 
person who found the dynamite in the basement of 
Mondo’s house. Sgt. Bill Pfeffer testified at 
Mondo’s trial that he never went into Mondo’s 
basement where the dynamite was found.”

“Interestingly, Sgt. Bill Pfeffer was deposed in 
2006 and stated under oath that he was the person 
who found the dynamite in Mondo’s basement. He 
later testified at co-defendant Poindexter’s 
post-conviction hearing in 2007 to the same 
thing. When confronted with the inconsistency in 
his sworn testimony, Pfeffer became incredulous and extremely defensive.””

“Mondo cannot prove that Omaha Police Department 
officers planted the dynamite found in Mondo’s 
basement, but the circumstantial coincidence of 
these events lends credence to Mondo’s actual 
innocence on the first degree murder charge.”

“Mondo’s case also occurred during the racial 
turmoil of the late 1960s and the early 1970s. 
Specifically, the FBI had instituted its 
COINTELPRO program designed to create internal 
fractures in the political groups it had 
targeted. History teaches that the Black Panther 
movement was targeted by the FBI in this program, 
including fringe groups associated with the Black Panthers.”

“Furthermore, Mondo was the victim of racial 
hatred by OPD which included him being called 
numerous racial epithets by law enforcement and 
being repeatedly harassed by members of OPD.”

Mondo we Langa and Ed Poindexter have come to be 
known as the Omaha Two and are both imprisoned in 
the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary.

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