Edward Alan Poindexter was born November 1, 1944, in Omaha, Nebraska. Forty-eight birthdays have passed in prison as Poindexter, now 76, is two years short of a half-century locked up for a crime he says he did not commit. Poindexter and David Rice (later Wopashite Mondo Eyen we Langa) were convicted after a controversial trial for the August 17, 1970 bomb murder of Patrolman Larry Minard.
Leaders of Omaha’s Black Panther affiliate chapter, the National Committee to Combat Fascism, Poindexter and Rice were targets of COINTELPRO, a clandestine counterintelligence operation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The pair was arrested and prosecuted for murder in a trial marred by a missing 911 recording of a killer’s voice, contradictory dynamite testimony by two detectives, and planted dynamite particles.
During a prison interview with Nebraska’s most controversial prisoner, Poindexter complained of the confessed bomber’s lack of remorse and his disgust of Duane Peak’s attidude about the bombing that left five young children fatherless. Peak, after six different versions of the crime, implicated Poindexter in exchange for never serving a day in prison and laughed about the murder. Poindexter empathized with the five children of Minard as he lost his own father at an early age.
Ed’s father helped him learn to read. “I remember learning how to read by sitting on the floor between my father’s legs as he read the newspaper, and would point up to words and pictures that he would either read for me or explain what the photos were.”
“Daddy worked on the railroad. He must have really hated his job and the role he had to play for white folks because he would never talk about the job, and would always return at the end of the day so angry that we’d often clear the living room until Daddy had chilled out and read the papers.”
“One day I misread Daddy’s mood, and went to sit on the floor in front of him for my daily lesson in reading, but he slapped me up side of the head and yelled to leave him alone. I ran upstairs toward the bedroom crying and mumbling under my breath, “I hate you! I wish you were dead!”
“I think that was on a Friday, because the next morning was a Saturday when I awakened and went downstairs. There was that familiar but peculiar odor of grease-fried hair under a straightening comb. The living room was filled with neighbors, quiet and somber. They all spoke to me, but said nothing else. A couple of the women were crying.”
“I entered the kitchen for breakfast, and Aunt Alice was frying Mama’s hair. She did not mince words with me or sugar coat it with typical fairy tales, but instead told me directly, “Butch honey, your father’s dead. He drown at Carter Lake last night, and you are never going to see him again.”
“I was stunned. The searing pain and shock was unspeakable. I was only eight, and Daddy was just twenty-six, and I’d never see him again.”
“I’d wished him dead on Friday, and come Saturday morning he was dead. Actually, he drowned Friday evening late. I got my wish. I blamed myself for his death, and it took me nearly two years to come out of my guilt shell and begin acting like a normal kid again. It wasn’t until 1992 that I finally come to grips with the entire issue of my father’s untimely death that was probably driven by his alcoholism.”
“My Uncle Bob would come to Omaha about once a year to check on us. I remember one visit Uncle Bob said he would buy me anything I wanted. I thought for a long time, kids want a lot of things, but I didn’t want anything. I just wanted my father back.”
At his April 1971 trial, Poindexter testified he did not know officer Minard, had no ill will toward him, and had nothing to do with his murder. Poindexter and Rice were convicted by a jury that never heard the 911 recording that lured Minard to his death. Nor did the jury know the dynamite testimony was unreliable as post-trial revelations would show. Rice died in prison in March 2016. Poindexter, who has repeatedly been denied a new trial, remains imprisoned at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary serving a life without parole sentence.
Ed Poindexter has never wavered in his steadfast denial of any guilt or role in the Minard murder and continues to maintain his innocence. “I was unjustly accused of a crime I did not commit.”
The story of Ed Poindexter, the flawed investigation, prosecution, and trial is now available in my new book, FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, in print edition at Amazon and in ebook format at Kindle. Portions of the book may also be read free online at NorthOmahaHistory.com. The book is also available to patrons of the Omaha Public Library.