Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts asked during book tour to examine 1971 Black Panther case

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Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has been asked to examine the case of Edward Poindexter, an imprisoned Black Panther leader.   (credit: Pete Ricketts)

A book tour for FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story to Nebraska included a stop at the State Capitol in Lincoln. Governor Pete Ricketts was out of town when I stopped by to give him a copy of the the book but his personal secretary assured me that she would see that Ricketts got the book.

FRAMED is the story of justice undone, a policeman’s murder where the guilty go unpunished, and two men were wrongfully convicted. The book is a true story of the 1970 bombing murder of Omaha Patrolman Larry Minard including the manipulation of the police investigation by competing federal law enforcement agencies and the tampering of the 1971 state trial by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and agents of the Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Division. FRAMED is a window on a case never fully or accurately reported.

Two Black Panther leaders, Edward Poindexter and Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa (former David Rice), were convicted in a controversial capital murder trial where both men faced the electric chair. Poindexter remains imprisoned at the Nebraska State Penitentiary while Mondo died serving his life without parole sentence in March 2016. Duane Peak, the fifteen year-old confessed bomber never served a day in prison for Minard’s murder. Peak obtained a deal from Douglas County Attorney Donald Knowles and was judged to be a juvenile delinquent in exchange for his testimony that Poindexter and Mondo put him up to the crime.

The governor’s free book came with a letter requesting his action. “I request that you review Edward Poindexter’s case in light of the federal tampering with the police investigation and state trial. I believe an innocent man is in prison while Minard’s killers walk free. There is no statute of limitations on murder. Justice has not been done in Nebraska in this case. With this book, I now put the matter on your desk, in your hands.”

My request to Governor Ricketts is not a small one nor one he may be eager to honor. First, he has to read the book. Next, Ricketts has to square the facts of what happened with his well-known “law and order” philosophy. Then, Ricketts must stare at himself in the mirror and question his own decision to restore the death penalty in Nebraska. Had the jury not spared Poindexter’s life in 1971, Ricketts would not be faced with the prospect of letting a convicted cop-killer out of prison for wrongful conviction. Ed Poindexter’s case calls into question Ricketts own leadership role in restoring the death penalty.

Ricketts may try to dodge the issue by saying there is nothing he can do and that the courts control the matter. However, there is much Ricketts can to to bring justice to Nebraska. The governor could pardon Poindexter and release him immediately. Ricketts could also initiate a commutation investigation for wrongful conviction. Poindexter’s sentence could be commuted to time served by the Board of Pardons, chaired by Governor Ricketts.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo is being asked by seventy-five professors, attorneys, activists, and celebrities to commute the sentence of Jalil Muntaqim (former Anthony Bottom) also a Black Panther leader imprisoned forty-eight years for the shooting of two New York policemen. In New York the issues are not about guilt or innocence but rather a fairness factor in parole decisions. Those arguments could also be applied to Poindexter’s case. However, in Nebraska a more fundamental issue confronts Ricketts, the punishment of an innocent man for a crime he did not commit while the guilty go unpunished.

Up next, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine is asked to reopen 1970 murder investigation.

FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story, in print edition at Amazon and 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.

Author: richardsonreports

Author of FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two Story.

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