[Ppnews] Omaha Two story: (Part 17) - Confessed Omaha bomber changed story during preliminary hearing
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Mar 30 15:49:45 EDT 2011
Confessed Omaha bomber changed story during preliminary hearing
Richardson, COINTELPRO Examiner
* March 30th, 2011 3:14 pm ET
Omaha Two story: Sept. 28, 1970
Duane Peak, the 15 year-old confessed bomber in
the ambush killing of Omaha police officer
Minard, Sr. was transported from the Fremont,
Nebraska jail where he had been held since August 31, 1970.
Peak had been moved to Fremont and given special
privileges during the weeks of his interrogation
following his arrest for the
17th bombing. The young man was hard to pin down
giving multiple versions of his admission.
The stories Peak told ranged from solo guilt to
various accomplices, including after prodding,
the alleged commands of
we Langa, then David Rice. The official version
of the case became that Peak acted at the
direction of the two Black Panther leaders.
The day after Peak was moved to Fremont, on
September 1, 1970, the three men arrested with
stolen dynamite on
28, 1970, Luther Payne, Lamont Mitchell, and
Conrad Gray, had their preliminary
hearing. Omaha detective Jack Swanson, head of
the OPD Intelligence Unit, testified about the facts of the mens arrests.
At the Federal Building, U.S. Attorney Richard
Dier announced the resignation of his assistant
J. William Gallup over a cancelled
Tobacco & Firearms Division raid. Gallup was
working with the ATF agents on a tip from an
adolescent and wanted to search the headquarters
of the National Committee to Combat Fascism in
July. The Federal Bureau of Investigation
learned of the raid and had it cancelled,
presumably in a turf war between the two agencies.
Gallup was angered by the meddling of the FBI in
his raid and after the bombing decided to resign
his federal position. Gallup told the Omaha
World-Herald, I got sick of Washington trying to
run our legal business in Omaha.
On September 28, 1970, a preliminary hearing,
required by law to determine if there was
sufficient grounds to continue to hold the two
black leaders on murder charges, was held at the Douglas County Courthouse.
Suddenly, Larry Minards confessed killer was
star witness. Peak would ultimately get a deal
and walk free after 33 months in juvenile detention for his testimony.
The story of the preliminary hearing is told by
Lincoln attorney Robert Bartle, now president of
the Nebraska Bar Association. Bartles version
of events is contained in an appeal brief for Ed
Poindexter whom Bartle represents and summarizes Peaks conflicting testimony.
The brief states: When Duane Peak testified in
the morning at the Preliminary Hearing on
September 28, 1970, he did not implicate David
Rice or Ed Poindexter. In fact, he denied having
seen Poindexter the day the bomb was supposedly constructed.
This dramatic turn-around in his testimony
speaks loudly of the pressure applied to Peak
during the recess between his morning and his
afternoon testimony. In the afternoon, he told a
very different story. Duane acknowledge that he
was shaking and nervous in the afternoon and
that he hadnt been shaking and nervous in the morning, stated the brief.
What happened next is revealing. Mondos
attorney, David Herzog, questioned Peak about his
demeanor on the stand and had him remove
sunglasses he was wearing on his return trip to
the courtroom. A gasp went through the crowd in
the courtroom as Peak removed his glasses to
reveal red, puffy eyes--he had obviously been crying.
The court record speaks:
Herzog: What happened to make you shake and
bring your nervous condition about now?
Peak: I dont know.
Herzog: You had a conversation between the time
you were placed on the witness stand this morning
and the present time now, isnt that correct?
Herzog: And there were the same things that the
police officers told you about that would happen
to you, like sitting in the electric chair, isnt that correct?
Peak: I didnt have a chance.
Herzog: You didnt have a chance, did you?
Herzog: You are doing what they want you to do, arent you?
Former State Senator Ernie Chambers was in the
courtroom when Peak testified. Chambers
describes the scene: When he came back in the
afternoon, his face was swollen around his eyes,
he had glass on
When Duane took his glasses off
his eyes were red, you could see he had been
crying, and there was an audible gasp in the courtroom.
Chambers continues: His answers were scarcely
audible. A young man who knew nothing about
anything in the morning and suddenly gave the
answers that the police, the prosecutors needed to implicate David and Ed.
The appeal brief: All indications are that the
prosecutors made a deal with Duane Peak, that in
consideration for his testimony against Rice and
Poindexter, they would treat him with leniency,
and as a juvenile
.The prosecutors never
disclosed to the defense that such an arrangement had been made.
Bartle concludes, Notwithstanding the clear law
requiring the disclosure, the prosecutors in this
case were silent about the deal that was made with Duane Peak.
To view all of the Omaha Two story articles click
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