U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kopf denied Edward Poindexter a hearing on a new trial request exactly 40 years after the funeral of the Omaha, Nebraska police officer he is accused of killing.
Poindexter was head of the Omaha chapter of the Black Panther affiliate group National Committee to Combat Fascism and a COINTELPRO target when patrolman Larry Minard was killed responding to a 911 call at a vacant house where a bomb waited.
J. Edgar Hoover, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had demanded the Omaha FBI office get Poindexter off the streets along with Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) as part of the clandestine Operation COINTELPRO.
The day of the bombing, Special Agent in-Charge Paul Young of the Omaha FBI office met with Deputy Chief Glen Gates of the Omaha Police Department and conspired to withhold evidence about the identity of the 911 caller that lured Minard to his death. Instead of a vocal analysis report on the 911 tape recording the FBI crime lab was to only provide an informal review of the killer’s voice.
The presence of an unknown killer, the 911 caller, would complicate Hoover’s plan to get the two Panther leaders and Hoover wanted no lab report that would end up in court.
When Ivan Willard Conrad, the FBI crime lab chief, got the COINTELPRO memo about Minard’s killing, Conrad spoke with Hoover on the phone to verify the killer of the policeman was not to be identified in a report. Conrad made a notation on the memorandum of Hoover’s directive and initialed and dated the entry.
Larry Minard was buried the next day on his 30th birthday leaving a widow with five young children.
The jury that convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa never got to hear the voice of the Minard’s killer and the tape was later destroyed by a police lieutenant, James Perry.
Years later a copy of the 911 recording emerged, secretly recorded by a dispatcher, The tape recording has since been subjected to modern testing that shows the voice is not that of 15 year-old Duane Peak, the confessed bomber, thus leaving an unknown killer at large.
Secret COINTELPRO files about the bombing also came to light years after the crime including the incriminating memo initialed by Conrad about Hoover’s personal role in withholding evidence.
Judge Kopf left room for an appeal of his order denying a new trial based on new evidence about the 911 tape recording. Poindexter will need to obtain permission of the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to proceed further.
Previously the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled against Poindexter on the same issue telling him that it did not matter whose voice was on the 911 tape recording.
Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa are both in their 40th year of imprisonment for the crime while both continue to deny any role in Minard’s death.