As eight officers searched the house and yard, one of them approached a suitcase near a doorway. A powerful explosion instantly killed officer Larry Minard, a 29 year-old father of five young children. In the hours following the deadly blast Omaha uniformed officers searched frantically for Minard's killers.
The FBI immediately joined the investigation and offered to analyze the 911 recording of the killer's voice that had lured Minard to his death. However, acting under COINTELPRO directives to "destroy" Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa's position as leaders of the Omaha Black Panthers, the FBI offer of help was tainted.
As day broke on the crime scene and investigators sifted through the bombing debris looking for clues, a new COINTELPRO action was being planned by Omaha FBI agents. Assistant Chief of Police Glen W. Gates met with the FBI and agreed that it was more important to stop the Black Panthers than find Minard's killers. An urgent COINTELPRO 'airtel' memo was drafted for FBI headquarters.
"By airtel 8/17/70 the Omaha Office has advised that the Omaha Police Department has requested laboratory assistance in connection with a bombing which took place in Omaha 8/17/70. This bombing resulted in the death of one police officer and the injuring of six other officers and is apparently directly connected with a series of racial bombings which Omaha Police have experienced. The Police were lured to the bomb site by a telephonic distress call from an unknown male."
"[REDACTED] of the Omaha Police has requested [REDACTED]."
"The SAC, Omaha strongly recommends that the assistance requested by the Omaha Police Department be conducted."
"[REDACTED] It is felt, in view of the SAC's recommendation and the significance of this case, an exception should be made in this case in order to assist the Omaha Police in developing investigative leads. The results of any examination will not be furnished directly to the Police but orally conveyed through the SAC of Omaha."
"If approved, the results of any examinations will be orally furnished the Police on an informal basis through the SAC, Omaha."
When the COINTELPRO memo reached the FBI Crime Laboratory two days later on August 19th the lab director, Ivan Willard Conrad, spoke by phone with Hoover over the unusual request to withhold a report on the killer's voice analysis. Conrad was given the go ahead to withhold evidence about the identity of the anonymous 911 caller. Conrad initialed the memo noting, "Dir advised telephonically & said OK to do."
The fix was in, Minard had not yet been buried and J. Edgar Hoover had already given the order to abandon the search for his killer to make a case against Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa.
On August 24th Hoover gave written approval to the earlier FBI bogus letter request about "Whiteys newspaper". At that point, Poindexter was already in custody and the search was on for Mondo we Langa. Both men were tried for Minard's murder.
Conrad followed orders and issued no report on the 911 tape. The jury that would convict the two Panther leaders never got to hear the recording of Minard's killer. Nor did the jury know about the existence of Operation COINTELPRO or that Poindexter and Langa had been targeted by the clandestine operation.
Raleigh House, named in the August 15th COINTELPRO memo, was identified at the trial as the supplier of the dynamite that killed Minard. A suspected informant, House faced no formal charges for supplying the explosives and only spent one night in jail before being released on his own signature by order of Arthur O'Leary of the county prosecutor's office.
Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Both are confined at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary where they continue to deny any involvement in Minard's death.
A new trial request over the withheld evidence and conflicting police testimony is pending before the Nebraska Supreme Court. No date for a decision has been set.