[Pnews] Omaha Two alibi not disclosed by prosecutor is new evidence to reopen 1971 Black Panther case

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 23 12:24:41 EDT 2019


  Omaha Two alibi not disclosed by prosecutor is new evidence to reopen
  1971 Black Panther case

Michael Richardson - September 20, 2019

Don Kleine 
is the current Douglas County Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska. Kleine has 
been asked to reopen the 1971 case against Black Panther leader Edward 
for the 1970 murder of an Omaha policeman. Poindexter and co-defendant 
David Rice 
(later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa 
were Black Panther leaders in the Midwestern city and were convicted for 
the bombing murder of Patrolman Larry Minard 
Unknown to the jury that convicted the two men was a clandestine law 
enforcement conspiracy against them code-named COINTELPRO 
by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Kleine was first hired to work for Douglas County by Donald Knowles, the 
man who prosecuted Poindexter and Mondo. Kleine has never been involved 
in any aspect or appeal proceeding of the murder case and could not be 
expected to be familiar with the myriad of details of the controversial 
April 1971 trial. When asked by the /Omaha World-Herald 
about the reopening request by the author of /FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, 
COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, 
/Kleine answered he would look at any old case if new evidence came to 
light. Kleine said nothing has yet emerged that convinces him Poindexter 
is innocent. Mondo died at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in March 2016 
while serving a life without parole sentence.

Kleine has chosen to be unconcerned about four completely redacted pages 
in Mondo’s FBI file 
containing information shared with the Omaha Police intelligence unit. 
If new evidence is hiding under the censor’s stamp Kleine won’t know 
because he has not yet bothered to look.

While the four redacted FBI pages fall in the category of possible new 
evidence, Kleine can find some new evidence by looking through files in 
the Douglas County Courthouse and examining the trial testimony of alibi 
witness Rae Ann Schmitz.

Schmitz was called to testify as an alibi witness for Mondo at the time 
of the bombing. Poor witness preparation by defense attorney David 
Herzog left him unaware that Schmitz could also provide an alibi for 
Sunday afternoon, the day before the murder, when confessed bomber Duane 
Peak allegedly picked up the bomb from Mondo. During cross-examination 
of Schmitz by Donald Knowles she unknowingly contradicted Peak but 
Knowles did not tell jury about the challenge to Peak’s credibility.

In an interview, Schmitz reflected back on her testimony, still unaware 
of the second alibi she provided, first for the crime itself and second 
for the alleged bomb transfer.

“I don’t remember having any contact with anyone on the defense team 
between the date of the event in August of ’70 until the trial. I did 
not know what the evidence revealed. At trial I believe the witnesses 
were sequestered. I do not remember hearing the testimony of any other 
witnesses. I do not know what other people said. I had no idea of the 
defense’s theory of the case. I remember meeting the lawyers briefly in 
the hallway outside the courtroom a few minutes before I took the 
witness stand.”

“I do know that I did not realize I was providing an alibi defense! That 
thought had not ever crossed my mind. I did not know that Duane Peak had 
alleged Mondo had been with him….I never did put it together until years 

Schmitz testified that Mondo was with her at Memorial Park at an 
anti-war rally on Sunday afternoon from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. when 
she drove him to Kountze Park for another rally arriving close to 5 p.m. 
Schmitz did not know, and Herzog apparently forgot or did not know, was 
that Peak claimed he met with Mondo at the headquarters of the National 
Committee to Combat Fascism sometime around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday 
afternoon. However, Peak did not tell the jury the time of the supposed 
rendezvous, that detail was only told to police and prosecutors on 
August 31, 1970 in an interrogation that was recorded by a court 
reporter. While it was Herzog’s duty to develop the Sunday afternoon 
timeline it did not happen. As much as was revealed at trial about 
Sunday afternoon came as a result of Donald Knowles’ cross-examination 
of Schmitz. However, the contradiction of Peak by Schmitz is one detail 
known to Arthur O’Leary, the chief assistant of Knowles and present at 
the prosecution table, that the two prosecutors kept from the jury.

The court reporter captured more than Peak’s false claim of a 
mid-afternoon meeting with Mondo. O’Leary was also caught encouraging 
Peak to lie. “As a practical matter it doesn’t make any difference what 
the truth is concerning you at all.”

“You realize now that it doesn’t make any difference whether you did or 
didn’t. That doesn’t really make one bit of difference at all at this 
stage of the game but I want to make sure concerning somebody else that 
might have been involved. Because you see what it amounts to, Duane, is 
that eventually you are going to have testify about everything you said 
here and it isn’t going to make one bit of difference whether or not you 
leave out one fact or not, as far as you are concerned.”

The Omaha police knew that Mondo could not have met with Peak in 
mid-afternoon because they had established Mondo’s whereabouts on Sunday 
within hours of the bombing. The day of the murder, two officers of the 
intelligence unit, Dennis Taylor and Glen Steimer, visited the home of 
Andrew Liberman, a member of Students for a Democratic Society. Steimer 
wasn’t home but the two officers learned from his mother that Steimer 
had spent Sunday afternoon at Memorial Park with “militants” Ernie 
Chambers and Mondo. “There were approximately 100 young people in 
attendance at the meeting.”

At this late date it cannot be known if Knowles intentionally kept the 
jury from learning about Peak’s claim of a mid-afternoon meeting or if 
the prosecutors failed to read the police report and forgot about 
O’Leary’s interrogation of Peak. In any event, the overlooked alibi for 
the bomb delivery is significant because it compromises Peak’s 
credibility and constitutes new evidence because it was overlooked at 
trial and on appeal. The alibi witness did not even recognize the 
critical importance of her testimony.

Redacted pages in a censored FBI file on the case and undisclosed alibi 
testimony are now balanced against Don Kleine’s reluctance to 
investigate possible prosecutorial abuse by his old boss. Meanwhile, Ed 
Poindexter sits in a tiny cell at the maximum-security Nebraska State 
Penitentiary, forty-nine years behind bars, where he steadfastly 
proclaims his innocence.

/This article contains excerpts from /FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, 
COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story,/in print edition at /Amazon 
in /ebook 
Portions of the book may be read free online at /NorthOmahaHistory.com 
/The book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library./

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
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