My book tour to Omaha for FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story began giving a book away instead of selling books. First stop of the day was to the Douglas County Courthouse to visit prosecutor Don Kleine at his office. Kleine was busy preparing for court and unable to accept the book in person. A helpful clerk at the counter in his front office took the book and cover letter in hand promising to place it on Kleine’s desk.
If Kleine will read the book he will discover a previously unavailable account of the story behind what transpired in the courthouse nearly a half-century earlier with the trial of Edward Poindexter and David Rice for the bombing murder of Patrolman Larry Minard. The book details how competing federal agencies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms Division, manipulated the Omaha Police investigation of the murder. Sadly, the book documents the FBI withholding of a laboratory report on a recording of the 911 call that led Minard to his death and questionable dynamite evidence offered at trial by ATF. Unknown to local police investigating the crime, were hidden agendas of the federal law enforcement agencies.
“Misdeeds of COINTELPRO, the illegal FBI counterintelligence operation, were aimed at Edward Poindexter for his role as chairman of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, a Black Panther group. Poindexter is now serving a life without parole sentence at the Nebraska State Penitentiary for the murder of Minard after the controversial 1971 trial marred by conflicting police testimony.”
“I request that you review Edward Poindexter’s case in light of the then unknown federal role in 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 ask you to reopen the Minard murder investigation.”
Kleine cannot be expected to rush at reopening a cold case fraught with unforeseen political implications and prosecuted by his mentor Donald Knowles. The letter to Kleine acknowledged the relationship between the two men.
“I am mindful that you began your long career of public service under the tutelage of Donald Knowles, who prosecuted Poindexter. The book does not answer any questions about Knowles’ knowledge of federal tampering, although his post-trial testimony that he knew of no FBI involvement in the case is difficult to square with the documentary record.”
Kleine may say that there is nothing he can do about the past. The reality is Ed Poindexter is still in prison and the past is his present. Don Kleine cannot be held to account for the errors of Donald Knowles. However, Kleine should be held to account for what he is doing about a case of wrongful conviction.
Up next, a book to the Omaha police chief and a call for justice.
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.