[Pnews] Omaha 2 - Suitcase of many colors is at center of COINTELPRO murder mystery in Omaha

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 14 10:57:58 EST 2015


  Suitcase of many colors is at center of COINTELPRO murder mystery in Omaha


January 14, 2015 7:47 AM MST
Michael Richardson
*http://www.examiner.com/article/suitcase-of-many-colors-is-at-center-of-cointelpro-murder-mystery-omaha*

The suitcase bomb that killed Omaha policeman Larry Minard, Sr. on 
August 17, 1970, put two Black Panther leaders in prison for life. Doing 
hard time at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary, Ed 
Poindexter 
<http://www.examiner.com/article/prison-interview-with-ed-poindexter-on-cointelpro-and-the-omaha-police> 
and Mondo we Langa 
<http://www.examiner.com/article/prison-interview-with-mondo-we-langa-on-cointelpro-and-omaha-two-case> 
(then David Rice) are known as the Omaha Two 
<http://crimemagazine.com/j-edgar-hoover-and-framing-omaha-two>, where 
both men continue to deny any guilt in the crime.

The Omaha Two <http://www.examiner.com/topic/omaha-two-1> were convicted 
following a controversial trial which featured conflicting police 
testimony and withheld evidence. A FBI Laboratory report on the identity 
of the anonymous caller that led police to an ambush bomb was withheld 
under orders of J. Edgar Hoover 
<http://www.examiner.com/article/j-edgar-hoover-signed-off-on-secret-cointelpro-plan-to-guide-omaha-police>, 
director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Hoover ordered the FBI 
Laboratory director Ivan Willard Conrad to not issue a written report as 
part of the illegal COINTELPRO <http://vault.fbi.gov/cointel-pro> 
program, a clandestine counterintelligence operation which targeted the 
Black Panthers.

In the months leading to the deadly blast Hoover had put increasing 
pressure of Omaha FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Paul Young to get the 
Omaha Two off the streets. In December 1969, Hoover told Young in a 
stern COINTELPRO <http://www.examiner.com/topic/cointelpro> memorandum 
to be “imaginative” in devising a counterintelligence actions against 
the two Black Panther leaders.

The two week trial in April 1971 was filled with contradictory and 
conflicted testimony but nothing was in greater dispute than the color 
of the deadly suitcase bomb itself.

Duane Peak, the fifteen-year old confessed bomber, who got off on a 
juvenile delinquency charge after implicating the Omaha Two, said the 
suitcase was “gray, real dark gray” in a police deposition. Of course 
the young killer is not the most reliable witness and also gave several 
different stories about where he got the suitcase.

Raleigh House, the man Peak testified at trial supplied the suitcase and 
dynamite, was never charged in the case. House’s lenient treatment by 
prosecutors has led many to suspect House was a government 
<http://www.examiner.com/government> informant. There is no direct 
evidence against House except for the testimony of Peak. While House was 
briefly in police custody he was not checked for traces of dynamite.

Several police officers stepped over the suitcase as they entered a 
vacant house looking for a screaming woman. Although it was dark and 
they were in a hurry, the police officers disagree on the color of the 
suitcase. Four of the surviving officers saw the suitcase but gave 
conflicting descriptions.

Patrolman James Sledge said at trial, “It was black vinyl.” However, 
Sledge told one officer for a police report that the suitcase was green 
and told yet another officer that it was brown. Patrolman Michael Lamson 
wasn’t sure at trial, “It appeared to be a kind of a light tan or gray 
in color.” Lamson had earlier reported the suitcase was green. 
Meanwhile, Patrolman Kenneth Tworek said in a police report the suitcase 
was brown.

Patrolman John Tess kept changing the color of the suitcase. Tess was 
interviewed at a hospital shortly after the bombing and said the 
suitcase was “blue or gray.” At trial, Tess said the suitcase was “light 
gray or a light green.”

Delia Peak, the bomber’s sister, didn’t know what color it was even 
though it sat in her living room. Delia did note, “It looked like it was 
new.”

Raymond Britt, Delia’s boyfriend, helped Duane Peak remove the suitcase 
from a car trunk. Britt didn’t know too much at trial either but said 
the suitcase was a “light color.”

Was the suitcase gray, tan, black, green, brown, blue, or a light color? 
The /Omaha World-Herald/ described the suitcase for the public in an 
article the day after the bombing: “In the hushed blackness of the 
vacant house at 2867 Ohio Street, a light green suitcase stood on the 
warm floor.”

Perhaps the color of the suitcase bomb is unimportant to the guilt or 
innocence of the Omaha Two, but the widely differing colors by 
eyewitnesses hints at some of the difficulties Edward Poindexter and 
Mondo we Langa encountered in trying to establish their innocence in the 
COINTELPRO-manipulated trial, unable to disprove alleged facts against them.

What color was the suitcase bomb? It was the color of injustice.

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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