[Pnews] Omaha 2 - Nebraska killer contradicted trial testimony to state senator in COINTELPRO case
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 12 10:51:34 EDT 2015
Nebraska killer contradicted trial testimony to state senator in
A court researcher discovered a micro-cassette tape recording in a box
at the Douglas County Courthouse regarding the murder of Omaha Patrolman
Larry Minard, Sr. The researcher made a transcript available of the
recording on August 11 and the details are now published for the first
time in this exclusive report.
Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers, a politician known for his
independence, has been trying to bring justice to the murder of Omaha
Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr. ever since the bombing that claimed Minard’s
life on August 17, 1970. Chambers, then a community activist, held
several public meetings in the days after the crime questioning the
police investigation which zeroed in on the Black Panthers. In 1990,
Senator Chambers travelled to Spokane, Washington and interviewed the
confessed bomber, Duane Peak, in an effort to get the truth.
Chambers was targeted as the mastermind of the Minard murder by Lt.
James Perry, who was in charge of the police murder investigation. Perry
asked Douglas County Attorney assistant prosecutor Sam Cooper to charge
Chambers but Perry said in a 2002 interview with a private detective
that Cooper refused because charging Chambers would trigger rioting.
Chambers has denied he was the subject of attention by Omaha police,
however, his name appears on a suspect list prepared by detective Jack
Swanson, who worked under Perry.
Duane Peak made a deal with prosecutors to testify against Black Panther
leaders Edward Poindexte
and Mondo we Langa
then David Rice, in exchange for his freedom. Peak was allowed to plead
guilty to juvenile delinquency instead of first-degree murder and was
sent to reform school instead of prison. When Peak aged out of the
juvenile system he was released and disappeared. Peak’s whereabouts was
the subject of several court hearings in 1980 as Mondo sought to reopen
Mondo and Poindexter were convicted on the strength of Peak’s testimony
against them and remain in prison, serving life sentences. The two men
were counterintelligence targets under COINTELPRO
<http://vault.fbi.gov/cointel-pro> of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. When Mondo surrendered after being charged for murder, he
was accompanied to the police station by Chambers who has remained the
most outspoken advocate for the Omaha Two
<http://crimemagazine.com/j-edgar-hoover-and-framing-omaha-two>, as the
two inmates have come to be called. The FBI withheld laboratory evidence
on the identity of an anonymous 911 caller, allowing Peak to claim he
made the call that led Minard to his death.
Peak was finally located in Spokane by a British film crew making a
documentary about the case but he refused to talk with them on camera.
When Ernie Chambers learned of Peak’s location he decided to visit the
confessed killer and see if he could get Peak to answer some questions.
Ben Gray, now on the Omaha City Council, accompanied Chambers on the
trip to Spokane. Gray then worked as a reporter for KETV in Omaha and
hosted a weekly program called /Kaleidoscope/. The two men also wanted
to get a recording of Peak’s voice to compare with the deep, gravelly
voice on the 911 recorded call.
Chambers and Gray showed up on Peak’s doorstep unannounced and Chambers
got Peak to invite them in. Gray operated a micro-cassette recorder
which captured the conversation. Peak’s soft voice is often inaudible on
the recording. The tape was turned over by Chambers to authorities and
it made its way to the Douglas County Court Clerk office where it has
sat for twenty-five years in a box of miscellaneous exhibits from the
case. The interview recording reveals details about life in exile from
Omaha but Peak claimed he did not remember much about the bombing.
Peak did not want to talk about the crime. Peak rambled about his fears
and failures, offering excuses and explanations in a confused stream of
consciousness during his first conversation about the murder in two
decades since the trial. Peak poured out his bottled up rationalizations
to Chambers and Gray. However, one emotion Peak did not express was
remorse for Minard’s death. At the trial, Peak’s sister testified Duane
and Donald both laughed about the murder. Peak has never made any known
statement expressing any regret for Minard, only for himself and the
trouble he got himself into.
Chambers directly asked Peak if he placed the suitcase bomb in the
house. Peak mumbled an answer, “Hmm huh.”
Chambers asked about the 911 phone call but Peak avoided answering: “I
am not going to try and make myself remember. I can’t….If I could
remember, I don’t want to try and tell you something that I think
because I haven’t really thought about it, I guess.”
Peak recalled his brother Donald was present at his arrest: “I can
remember, it was at night when they arrested me. Umm, Donny was there,
Donny was there.”
Chambers pressed Peak to open up explaining he did not need to fear
retaliation, “I’’ve never heard anybody say they have a desire to do
anything to you.”
“Don’t tell me that.” Peak snapped back. “I missed out on my whole
family life, for twenty years. I never knew that.” Peak continued his
theme of woe is me. “All I had, uhh, I got one letter from my dad, you
know, and it was a real brief letter. I guess there was some things that
happened in his life that were real devastating, and umm, that I talked
to my grandfather maybe once or twice every year.”
Peak continued his rambling tale of woe focusing on himself, ignoring a
dead policeman and two men in prison for life. “I had to do everything
on my own. You, know, I haven’t gotten any help, you know, money wise,
or anything, from anybody, and just the drive to try and be something
good in my life for, you know, I wanted to show my grandpa that it
wasn’t all bad…I could have achieved something.”
Chambers confronted Peak with a letter Mondo we Langa
<http://www.examiner.com/topic/mondo-we-langa> had written to Ben Gray
denying any role in the bombing. Peak countered, “That thing was made in
David’s basement. It was his basement.”
Peak denied witnessing the construction of the bomb. None of Peak’s
previous six versions of the crime, including sworn testimony, support
Peak's claim to Chambers that the bomb was assembled outside his view in
Mondo’s basement. At trial, the bomb was allegedly assembled by Ed
Poindexter in the kitchen while Peak watched on. Every time Peak has
told the story he has offered a different version.
Chambers and Gray returned to Nebraska, submitted the recorded
interview, and returned to their careers. Chambers continues to serve
the residents of Omaha’s Near Northside as a state senator in Lincoln.
Gray has left KETV television and is now on the Omaha City Council.
Duane Peak’s voice was tested by forensic audiological analysis in 2006
and it was determined by internationally acclaimed expert Tom Owen that
Peak did not make the 911 call, leaving an unknown killer, Peak's
accomplice, still unaccounted for. Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa
remain imprisoned at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary
where they continue to deny any part in the crime. The Nebraska courts
have never addressed the role of counterintelligence manipulation of the
trial under the COINTELPRO <http://www.examiner.com/topic/cointelpro>
program. Now, with the Chambers interview, Duane Peak is left telling
one more lie about the murder of Larry Minard, Sr.
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