Edward Poindexter will not get another day in court if Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine has his way. Kleine was recently asked to reopen the 1971 conviction of Poindexter for the murder of Patrolman Larry Minard by the author of FRAMED: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & the Omaha Two story. The book details as never before the inside story of the murder investigation manipulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to obtain a conviction of Black Panther leader Poindexter and co-defendant David Rice, later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa.
Poindexter and Mondo were targets of a clandestine counterintelligence operation of the FBI code-named COINTELPRO and both men were on a secret detention list known as the Security Index. Mondo was also marked for ambush in Carter Lake, Iowa, while returning from Eppley Airport with copies of the Black Panther newspaper. Poindexter was the victim of two FBI bogus letters written to defame him in the black community and with the national headquarters of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California.
In December 1969, after deadly raids in Chicago and Los Angeles against the Black Panthers, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered Omaha Special Agent in Charge Paul Young to get “imaginative” with a plan to get the Omaha Two off the streets. In August 1970, Young was able to carry out Hoover’s order with the arrest of Poindexter and Mondo for the murder of Minard. Hoover ordered FBI Laboratory head Ivan Willard Conrad to not issue a lab report on the identity of the anonymous 911 caller who lured Minard to his bombing death in a vacant house.
A fifteen year-old, Duane Peak, planted the bomb but got a deal from Knowles in exchange for implicating Poindexter and Mondo and never served a day a prison. Peak claimed he made the call, protecting an accomplice with a deep gravelly voice. A audiological test of the tape could have proved Peak was lying about the 911 call and thus was never performed.
The jury that convicted the two men never heard the 911 recording that captured a killer’s voice. Nor was the jury told about COINTELPRO or the Omaha Police Department harassment campaign against the Panthers which was documented in a confidential FBI file.
Kleine began his long career of public service working as a new prosecutor for Donald Knowles, who prosecuted Poindexter. Kleine was not hired until after the Minard case and was unaware of the extent of involvement of the FBI in both the investigation and prosecution.
Ignoring the fact that FRAMED put the previously untold story of FBI subterfuge together in one place from primary sources, Kleine did not respond to the request to reopen the cold case. When asked by the Omaha World-Herald for an answer, Kleine claimed he is always willing to take a second look if new evidence arises. However, Kleine dodged the request by saying the courts had already given “intense scrutiny” to the case.
“There’s a lot of people who have looked at this. But I’m not aware of anything that leads me to believe these people are completely innocent.”
Kleine’s refusal to consider the federal tampering with the case leaves Ed Poindexter stuck in his maximum-security cell at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, serving a life without parole sentence and without further recourse to the courts. Poindexter has steadfastly maintained his innocence. Mondo died at the prison in March 2016.
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.