On August 17, 1970, an Omaha, Nebraska police officer, Larry Minard, was murdered in an ambush bombing at a vacant house. Two men, Edward Poindexter and Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice), are serving life sentences at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for his killing. The pair were leaders of Omaha's chapter of the Black Panther Party. Most people assume justice was done in the case and little effort has been made by the news media to dig into the hidden aspects of the crime.
Poindexter has a new trial request pending before the Nebraska Supreme Court and an examination of the record, much of it still hidden by Federal Bureau of Investigation censors, reveals a dozen reasons to question the outcome of the trial.
New Trial Reason Eleven: Expert witness Tom Owen
The recording of the 911 call that lured Larry Minard to his death was destroyed after the murder trial without the jury ever listening to the voice of the killer. J. Edgar Hoover had directed the FBI Crime Laboratory to withhold a report of a voice analysis the lab conducted.
Years later a copy of the recording made by a police dispatcher emerged and in 2006 was subjected to sophisticated scientific analysis by forensics expert Tom Owen. Owen is an internationally recognized audio forensic annalist and listened to exemplars of the 1970 emergency call and a contemporary recording of Duane Peak repeating the same words.
Owen, who conducts professional seminars on voice analysis, concluded Duane Peak did not make the deadly call. Owen confirmed what some have long suspected because the voice on the tape does not sound like a 15 year-old's voice. The Omaha World-Herald described the voice as "deep and drawling".
Owen testified in May 2007 that the voices did not match with a detailed phrase-by-phrase courtroom explanation of the discrepancies.
In a October 13, 1970 COINTELPRO memo from the Omaha FBI to Hoover, Omaha Assitance Chief of Police Glen Gates is quoted as requesting no lab report. "Assistant COP GLENN GATES, Omaha PD, advised that he feels any use of this call might be prejudicial to the police murder trial."
If Peak didn't make the call about a woman screaming then he is hiding the identity of an older relative or accomplice and destroying his own credibility against Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa.
Poindexter's attorney, Robert Bartle, played the recording for the Nebraska Supreme Court in a hushed courtroom and the justices heard what Poindexter's jury did not--a killer's voice. The issue of the recording came before the Nebraska Supreme Court a quarter-century earlier with Mondo's appeal. Then the state high court dismissed the appeal because the tape had not been analyzed by an expert.
The technology used by Owen to determine the voices were not a match did not exist at the time of the initial, secret FBI analysis. Judge Russell Bowie, who Poindexter first asked to address Owen's expert testimony, ignored the recording in a District Court decision. However, Bowie did accept the duplicate recording as an exhibit putting the issue squarely before the Nebraska Supreme Court.
Oral argument was heard in early October and a decision is pending on Poindexter's request for a new trial.
If Tom Owen is right, one of Larry Minard's killers was never apprehended and police dropped the search.
New Trial Reason Twelve: Injustice of Stone v. Powell