MAYO NAMED DIAMOND R-4 SUPERINTENDENT
By Randy Turner
Mark Mayo, who has served as interim superintendent of the Diamond
R-4 School District since the disappearance of Dr. Greg Smith, was officially named to the position by the R-4 Board of Education
following a closed session Monday night.Mayo began the year as middle school principal and served in that capacity until Dr.
Smith disappeared the morning of Oct. 31, 2001. Smith's body was discovered in a pond north of Diamond on Nov. 11. His death
was subsequently ruled a suicide by Newton County Coroner Mark Bridges.
Mayo came to Diamond after serving three years as principal at Southwest
High School in Washburn. He previously taught social studies at Carthage Senior High School and spent many years as a lawyer
and banker. At one time, Mayo served on the Carthage City Council. He is originally from Lamar.
Denise Mounts, who has served as interim middle school principal since
the beginning of January, was officially appointed middle school principal for the remainder of this year and the 2002-2003
school year Monday night. The R-4 Board already offered contracts to High School Principal Robert Blizzard and Elementary
Principal Deanna Yokley last week.
FORMER JOPLIN OFFICER'S APPEAL REJECTED BY FEDERAL PANEL
By Randy Turner
A panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected former Joplin
Police sergeant Keith R. Meyer's claim that the city discriminated against him when it failed to promote him to lieutenant.
In a decision filed Feb. 26, the panel said the city charter gave
the police chief wide discretion in appointing his officers. "We can find no provision that prevents the promoting authorities
from using discretion when choosing between the three highest rated applicants," the opinion said, "therefore, the police
chief was free to appoint any of the three qualified applicants and Meyer was not entitled to an automatic promotion."
Meyer had appealed a decision made against him by Judge Scott O. Wright
in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
The position Meyer felt he should have been promoted to required a
candidate to have five years of experience as an officer with the city, to have completed 90 hours of college credit and to
hold the rank of sergeant. Each qualified candidate then took a competitive examination, the court record said. After the
examination, the top three candidates were interviewed by the chief and two of his lieutenants. "Meyer obtained the highest
score on the examination and was one of the top three candidates," the opinion said, "but he was not selected for the promotion.
The police chief, as the appropriate appointing authority, informed
Meyer that he was not promoted because the chief had more 'chemistry' with another candidate."
JOPLIN COUNCILMAN FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
By Randy Turner
Joplin City Councilman James R. West filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy
earlier this month, according to U. S. Bankrupty Court documents.
The documents indicate West has $58.875 in assets, including $39,000
in real property and $19,875 in personal property and $79,967.60 in liabilities. Creditors listed on the bankruptcy forms
-Citifinancial, Joplin, $21,166
-Discover Card, Wilmington, Del., $5,782.54, credit card debt
Dr. Richard Joseph, Joplin, $350, medical services
Firstar, St. Louis, $1,854.90, miscellaneous
Freeman Hospital, Joplin, $150, medical services
Providian, Nationwide Credit Co., Atlanta, Ga., $3,477.76, miscellaneous
Sears, Atlanta, Ga., $837.93, credit card debt
Security Financial, address not given, $540, miscellaneous
Wells Fargo Financial, Sioux Falls, S. D., $1,754, credit card debt
Firstar, St. Louis, lien on 2000 Ford Taurus, security on same, $13,068.25
Conseco Finance, Tempe, Ariz., first mortgage, $26,640
Milsap & Singer P.C. St. Louis, lien on first mortgage, trustee's
sale was scheduled for Feb. 6
Conseco Finance, Tempe, Ariz., Security: Homestead, $4,246.22.
WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT
AGAINST JOPLIN CONTRACTOR REVIVED
By Randy Turner
A wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a Webb City man
who was killed during a construction accident at Carthage Senior High School was reinstated in January by the Missouri Southern
District Court of Appeals.
The family of the late William D. Logsdon, a worker for Dalton-Killinger
Construction, Joplin, is suing that company with defendants listed on the petition including Charles Killinger, Tim Parker,
Michael W. Pitzer, Don Dicharry Jr., and Terry Hershey.
The suit was initially dismissed in Jasper County Circuit Court by
Judge David Dally.
The petition alleges that Mr. Logsdon died on July 29, 1998, when
he was working more than 20 feet above the ground on a platform raised by the forks of a forklift owned by the construction
company and "that while (Logsdon) was on the platform, the forklift was left unattended by its operator, became unsteady and
turned over, causing (Logsdon) to fall to his death." The men were removing window frames on the east side of the CSHS gymnasium
The petition also charges that the forklift was not maintained properly
and that it could not operate on uneven ground because of a leaking hydraulic cylinder.
The case has been returned to Jasper County Circuit Court for further
Dalton-Killinger was fined $7,599 by OSHA for its role in the accident.
OSHA indicated Dalton-Killinger violated two regulations, saying the forklift should not have been in service and that adequate
training was not provided for the employees who used the fork lift.
DRUNK DRIVER'S CONVICTION UPHELD
By Randy Turner
The Missouri Southern District Court of Appeals recently upheld the
conviction of a Pittsburg, Kan., woman who killed a Joplin teen in an alcohol-related crash.
Cynthia Gonzales, 47, was sentenced by Judge William Carl Crawford
to five years in prison Feb. 13, 2001, for her role in the Dec. 23, 1999, crash that claimed the life of Brett Deslatte, 18,
Joplin, and left Jason Swann, Joplin, with a severe brain injury.
Shortly after midnight on Dec. 23, 1999, Ms. Gonzales and her boyfriend,
Zied Al-Talaq left a Joplin bar. They had already been drinking at Ms. Gonzales's home before they went to the bar, according
to court records. After they left the bar, with Ms. Gonzales behind the wheel, the car struck a Jeep in the side at an intersection,
killing Deslatte, a passenger in the jeep. Ms. Gonzales then fled the scene as she testified. She was questioned by the prosecution
about that decision at her trial, according to the official transcript, which was quoted in the decision.
Q- Immediately after the collision, did you get out of the car?"
A- Yes, I did."
Q- At that point in time, you assumed yourself that somebody had been
injured in the accident, didn't you?
Q- But you didn't stay at the scene, did you?
A- No, I didn't.
Q- You drove off?
A- Yes, I did.
Q- But didn't you know that it was against the law?
A- Yes, I did. At the time I was so distraught that I couldn't even
Court records indicate Ms. Gonzales drove to a convenience store where
she bought gas, but she and Al-Talaq found the car wouldn't operate because it had lost all of its anti-freeze. Al-Talaq called
for a tow truck. The tow truck driver, Marvin Phillippi, was told to drive the car to Pittsburg. Al-Talaq and Ms. Gonzales
had already called for a cab, but Phillippi suggested they ride along with him and they agreed.
"Shortly after Phillippi crossed the Kansas line," the opinion reads,
" he received a telephone call from a Jasper County dispatcher. During the call, the officer asked Phillippi to return to
Missouri. Phillippi did as requested and told (Ms. Gonzales) and Al-Talaq that his boss had called him and needed to switch
cell phones with him.
"After Phillippi turned and started back to Missouri, (Ms. Gonzales)
wanted out of the truck and said she would walk the five miles to Pittsburg. Phillippi assured (her) it would just take a
few seconds to switch phones and continued his return to Missouri. When Phillippi got to a stop sign at Highway 171, (Ms.
Gonzales) tried to stop the truck by pulling the gear shift and holding it in neutral. Phillipi told (her) there was a vehicle
coming and he needed to get out of the intersection. (Ms. Gonzales) relented after Phillippi assured her he would pull over
just up the road. Phillippi then drove across the state line, stopped and got out of the truck. Shortly thereafter, officers
arrived and took (Ms. Gonzales) and Al-Talaq into custody."
Later that morning, the opinion indicates, Ms. Gonzales gave a statement
to police in which she said she was driving the car when the fatal crash occurred. Her lawyer later tried to have that statement
tossed out, claiming she was illegally detained by the tow truck driver. That was also the basis for the unsuccessful appeal.
JONI WILLIAMS TO VIE FOR MISS MISSOURI CROWN
Joni Williams, daughter of Rick and Denise Williams,
Lamar, will be one of the contestants later this year for the title of Miss Missouri. Joni was recently crowned winner of
Northwest Missouri pageant. She is the reigning Lamar Fair Queen.
Joni and her mother were the first mother and daughter
to both be crowned Lamar Fair queens.
(Stories from November 2001)
JENNIFER LENZ CROWNED
MISS ARIZONA USA
By Randy Turner
PHOENIX, Ariz.- Jennifer Lenz, daughter of Andre and Vicki Lenz, Lamar, was crowned Miss Arizona USA during ceremonies
held Saturday night in Phoenix. "I am extremely excited and still in a state of shock," she said. "I am anxiously anticipating
competing in the Miss USA Pageant in Gary, Indiana, on March 1."
Jennifer's career as a beauty queen began on Aug. 23,
1994, when she was crowned Lamar Fair queen during ceremonies held at the Thiebaud Auditorium. Jennifer was only eight years
old when someone first told that one day she would be crowned Lamar Fair queen. She was watching the Lamar Fair Rotary Parade
in 1985. "The queen was Tanya Tahhan," she recalled. "When she came by, she waved at her grandfather, who was standing right
Tanya Tahhan's grandfather looked down at little Jennifer and said, "That's going to be you someday."
he didn't realize was that Jennifer did not intend to stop at being Lamar Fair queen, but that was where she got her start.
On that August day in 1994, the prediction came true. It was a combination of Jennifer's grace, beauty, personality and a
little item she had with her for good luck.
"She didn't want to do it," her mother said, "but I had her put a lucky penny
in her shoe."
"When she told me to do that," Jennifer said, "I said, 'Mom, this is so stupid."
But it worked for Jennifer
as it did later that year when she was crowned Black Walnut Queen at Stockton and it worked later when she appeared in numerous
pageants on the state level in Missouri.
Jennifer attended college in Florida and lived in Fort Lauderdale for six years
and now lives in Phoenix, working for a television production company that does work for MTV, Fox Sports, ESPN, NBA, NFL,
NHL and for others. "I get to travel a lot so that keeps things fun and exciting," she said.
One more thing...when Jennifer
competed in the Miss Arizona USA Pageant Saturday night, she took something special along with her for old times' sake, she
said. "Well, the lucky penny worked again."
DR. GREG SMITH REMEMBERED
By Randy Turner
The death of Dr. Greg
Smith, Diamond R-4 superintendent, cast a dark shadow over school districts across southwest Missouri. For the past quarter
of a century, Dr. Smith made his mark on the lives of children and educators.
The latest monument to his hard work and
faith in the patrons and students of the R-4 School District, the new high school, will open sometime during the spring semester.
Dr. Smith spearheaded the drive to pass a bond issue to build the new high school, something that seemed almost impossible
since a new high school was built in this school district less than a decade ago.
The way he did it was by finding the
right people and then letting them do their jobs. He worked with the R-4 Board of Education to find the right plan, then helped
find the people who could convince the public that the plan was needed to increase the educational opportunities for Diamond
R-4 students. His job was made all the more difficult because a similar plan had been shot down by voters the year before.
Dr. Smith not only had to convince voters that the plan was a good one, he had to convince them that the school district was
being operated efficiently and compassionately. The overwhelming vote in favor of the bond issue proves that he met the challenge
squarely and won the battle convincingly.
He had faced a similar challenge when he took his first superintendent job,
in 1995 in the Sarcoxie R-2 School District. At Sarcoxie, he was able to lead a successful drive to pass a bond issue to build
a middle school. He used the same approach there and explained his approach in an interview I conducted with him just after
he took that position.
"These are good people in the community," Dr. Smith said. At the schools in Sarcoxie, just as he
did in the Diamond R-4 schools, he consulted everyone from the board to the principals to the students and he had faith in
his faculty. "This school system has a good faculty," he said about Sarcoxie. "They were doing a pretty good job when I came
here and they'll do a good job after I leave." He left the Sarcoxie school system a much better place than he had found it,
taking the Diamond job July 1, 1999.
Dr. Smith attended Missouri Southern State College from 1970 to 1975, earning a bachelor
of arts degree in sociology and a bachelor of science degree in elementary education. He earned his master's degree from Pittsburg
State University in 1981, his specialist's degree from PSU in 1982 and his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in 1984.
He began his educational career teaching sixth grade at Westview near Neosho in 1975. For the next five years, he taught
at a Joplin elementary school. He spent 12 years in the Webb City R-7 School District, the first four as principal at Eugene
Field Elementary and the next eight as assistant superintendent.
"My educational philosophy is kid-centered," he said
during a 1997 interview. "We don't need to be a hurdle, but a help in every way possible." Though he always put the children
first, he did not tolerate students who presented the school in a bad light. "I will not tolerate drugs or weapons on campus,"
he said. "I will not tolerate students fighting or showing disrepect to themselves and others, including faculty and staff."
Though he had sympathy for students who came from troubled homes, Dr. Smith always believed that troubled homes was not an
excuse for bad behavior. "I believe every person is responsible for their actions," he said. "We all have free will."
nearly all of his adult life, Dr. Greg Smith devoted his time and effort to making things better for the students, first as
a teacher, then as an administrator. The only break came during a two-and-a-half-year period when he took a position with
an insurance firm in Joplin. It wasn't burnout with the educational system that led him to leave it for that period, he said,
noting it was an opportunity to try something in the business community. He tried it, but during that time he was never able
to get education out of his mind or out of his heart.
"What I found out (from his time in the business world) was that
I had some people skills which work well in education that I didn't have a chance to use in the private sector." When the
superintendent position opened unexpectedly in Sarcoxie after the beginning of the 1997-98 school year, Dr. Smith applied
and was hired by the Sarcoxie R-2 Board of Education.
Even though Dr. Smith left Sarcoxie after just two years, people
in that school district never spoke ill of him. "You've got yourself a good man in Greg Smith," former R-2 board member Kaare
Gjeruldsen said, shortly after Dr. Smith began his tenure at Diamond.
Dr. Smith's return to education played a profound
role in an increase of educational opportunities in two school districts. He not only led successful drives to improve the
campuses in Diamond and Sarcoxie, but he also stood behind educators who came up with initiatives to improve curriculum and
student performance on standardized test scores in both school districts.
Undoubtedly, the Diamond R-4 Board of Education
will recognize the important role Dr. Smith played in the lives of the students and faculty in his all-too-brief time here
when it names the new school or the new gymnasium at the school. The most important tribute that can be paid to Dr. Smith's
memory, however, will be for students, faculty, administrators and the community to work together to make sure that the Diamond
R-4 School District remains in the future just as it was when he was superintendent...a safe, caring place where the interests
of our young people always come first.
APPEALS COURT REJECTS
LAMAR SWINDLER'S PETITION
By Randy Turner
The appeals process for convicted Lamar swindler Patrick Dallas Graham appears to have reached the end of the road. U.
S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey dismissed Graham's appeal with prejudice on June 21, meaning he cannot refile it. Graham
appealed that decision, but a week later Judge Laughrey once more ruled against Graham.
This was the fourth time Graham
had tried to have his sentence tossed out since he pleaded guilty to three counts of stealing and securities fraud in September
1997 in Barton County Circuit Court. In the earlier court decisions, the judges indicated there was no reason to throw his
sentence out because he was the one who had entered the guilty plea.
In the June 21 decision, the judge rebutted each
of the points Graham made in his appeal. Graham claimed that his conviction and 15-year prison sentence for securities fraud
violations should be tossed out because Barton County Prosecuting Attorney Steven Kaderly had represented him in legal matters
prior to his arrest and that he (Kaderly) was "a material witness to the events that were the basis of the charges," and that
he had not received adequate representation from his attorney, Ross Rhoades of Neosho. Judge Laughrey noted that the Missouri
Southern District Court of Appeals had disagreed with that contention. "The record shows that (Graham) was not threatened
or coerced into entering his plea of guilty and that (he) was satisfied with plea counsel's representation. At both the plea
and sentencing hearings, he failed to reveal that there was a conflict of interest involving Kaderly or that such an issue
was raised with (Rhoades). The record indicates Graham pled guilty in order to obtain the benefit of the plea bargain and
because he was, in fact, guilty of the crimes charged and he has failed to allege specific facts showing otherwise."
judge also rejected Graham's claim that former Circuit Court Judge David Darnold was prejudiced against him and said he failed
to show that he (Graham) is "probably actually innocent."
The U. S. District Court offered one last opportunity for Graham,
a man who had been at the top of the world six years ago, at a time when he had already spent millions of dollars and planned
to make millions more, bilking investors, including singer Pat Boone and a number of Branson high-rollers, by convincing them
to invest in AIDS vaccine that did not exist. The AIDS vaccine scheme was the latest in a lifetime of schemes for Graham.
Pat Graham was born June 18, 1941, in Pleasanton, Iowa, the third of four sons born to Lawrence and Elizabeth Graham.
He married Betty Woods July 3, 1959, in Pleasanton. They had two daughters, Marcia Martinson, 40, and Michelle Hoyt, 33. Graham
graduated 21st in a class of 66 students at Leon High School, Leon, Iowa. His grades were average to superior, but he did
receive a D in chemistry. He later attended Iowa State University from September 1964 until he dropped out n June 1970 with
155 hours of college credit. He had a grade point average of 1.79 (D+) on a scale of 4.0.
Robert Getty, chairman of the
Department of Anatomy at Iowa State, gave him a job working with a colony of beagles in 1964, researching the clogging of
coronary arteries. After Getty died, Graham left that job and worked for a time as a deputy sheriff.
with investors go back two decades. He had problems in previous dealings involving a veterinary medicine company and a Christian
restaurant venture in Freeman, S. D., according to court records. His one foray into the restaurant business ended in bankruptcy
and caused eight lawsuits. On Oct. 26, 1977, Graham held a groundbreaking ceremony for The Cornerstone, a Christian-themed
restaurant in Freeman. Plans for the restaurant included several private dining rooms, a picturesque fountain and a stage
for live gospel music.
By the time the restaurant had its grand opening in September 1978, Graham had skipped town and
his workers had not been paid. Orville Waltner, an electrician, estimated Graham owed local tradesmen more than $130,000,
including $8,000 owed Waltner.
Lawsuits were filed in South Dakota and in Missouri accusing Graham of stealing patents
from Duane Pankratz, a Freeman veterinarian. When Graham moved from South Dakota to Missouri in the late 1970s, documents
filed in Barton County Circuit Court indicate, he and Pankratz entered into an agreement which would allow Graham to sell
Pankratz' products in Missouri. Graham did not pay Pankratz the money he owed him. The doctor sued him and a U. S. District
Court jury awarded Pankratz $25,000.
Graham managed to avoid the criminal side of the judicial system until 1984, when
he pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in U. S. District Court. Charges were filed against Graham after he offered to pay
three southeast Kansas businessmen, August Rua, Francis Usher and Ken DeLange $250,000 "one half of my finder's fee from a
gold sale in South Africa," according to a promissory note on file at the Barton County recorder's office, in exchange for
a loan of $25,000. Court records indicate Graham already owed the three businessmen $575,000. He sent letters to the men telling
them the money he owed them was being held by the Internal Revenue Service until it completed an audit of his taxes. When
the businessmen realized Graham had no intention of paying them the money he owed them, they went to the FBI. A plea agreement
was worked out in which Graham would serve no prison time in exchange for his cooperation in other federal investigations.
Graham was placed on probation for five years. He was required to repay the $25,000, but the $575,000 was lost forever.
The scheme that finally put Pat Graham in prison began in the early 1990s when Graham started selling shares in Conquest
Labs, Inc., a company he said had developed an AIDS vaccine. According to court records, he sold more than $5.3 million worth
of stock in the company. He convinced potential investors with a deeply personal selling style, using his "Christian" background
and oozing with sincerity. His sales pitch is captured in a transcript of a sales meeting in Branson, which is one file in
Barton County Circuit Court.
At that meeting, he told potential investors he had turned down attempts by Elizabeth Taylor,
Michael Jackson, Magic Johnson and Arsenio Hall to buy shares in Conquest Labs. "We have turned down money from all sorts
of people," Graham said. Graham indicated he wanted only Christian people to invest in his company.
"My name is Graham,"
he said, introducing himself, "like the old brown crackers. I'd be less than honest if I didn't tell you that everything that
I hope to have, I owe to the good Lord. Period. There's nothing else that I can add to that."
Graham talked about the
history of Conquest Labs and said he had been teaching his grandchildren about the Bible, that the Christian life was the
most important thing of all. "If you don't feel like you're serving number one, you better. I hope nobody noticed how polished
my knees are. I've been on my knees a lot lately." He said his wife and his daughter had both had cancer scares.
vaccine was brought to him by a university professor in 1991, he said. The professor, who was in his 80s, said he had come
to Graham to ask him to take over the vaccine. "He said, 'Every time I've gone with a big company to do something, I've been
done wrong.' "
Graham said he agreed to help the professor. "I don't want anybody to sit here and get the idea that Pat
Graham is a genius or something like that. I'm an old south Iowa cow milker."
The old south Iowa cow milker then told
his Bible belt audience how he had prayed about the product, since many of those who suffered from AIDS had lifestyles that
were contrary to what he believed in. "At one time in my life," he said, "I didn't love those people enough and I don't condone
one iota of anything they do, but I know God loves them and I know that He put me in charge of this product." An added benefit
of his vaccine, Graham said, is that it wouldn't work on a homosexual unless he changed his lifestyle. "It doesn't matter
if it's a horse or a human, if they are too far gone, you got to let them go. If they continued in their sinful ways, it didn't
work at all." Graham said the vaccine would only work on homosexuals if they quit being homosexual. "God isn't going to let
homosexuals continue their sinful lifestyle without punishment," he said. The spiel worked. Many of the investors in Conquest
Labs came from that meeting...which was held in a Branson church.
Before Conquest Labs came under the scrutiny of state
officials, Graham had convinced more than 500 investors to put in a total of $5.3 million.
Graham told the investors he
was not in it for the money...when he was drawing a salary of $120,000 a year under his wife's name; his residence and those
of his two daughters were bought with funds paid by Conquest investors, one of his daughters and his sons-in-law were receiving
handsome salaries, their vehicles were paid for by investor funds and other living expenses were being covered by investments.
Tonya Ehrsam, a former Conquest employee, told state investigators that while she worked there, between Sept. 21, 1993,
and Oct. 27, 1994, the firm only had $250 in income, a rebate, other than income received from investors.
marketing plan indicated Conquest was also working on vaccines for cancer and Alzheimer's Disease.
The beginning of the
end for Pat Graham's biggest scam came on Oct. 3, 1994, when Frederick Holloway, a securities investigator for the Missouri
Secretary of State's office, received a call from David Hoyt, Graham's son-in-law. Hoyt told Holloway much of the investors'
money was being used by Graham for himself and his family. "Mr. Hoyt stated that investor funds had been deposited in a number
of banks under fictitious names which were controlled by Mr. Graham." On May 23, 1995, the Missouri Highway Patrol, working
with the secretary of state's office and the attorney general's office, indicted Graham on 10 counts of securities fraud and
10 counts of stealing.
Graham finally agreed in 1997 to plead guilty to three counts of securities fraud and was sentenced
to 15 years in prison. He could have been placed on probation if he had been able to repay his investors. He was given 120
days to pay back the money. The sentencing judge, David Darnold, had no doubt the investors would never see their money. "If
someone wants to step up here and pay the $5.5 million," Darnold said, "I would be delighted." Darnold and the lawyers representing
the Missouri attorney general's office were not amused by two ideas to raise the money that were brought up at the sentencing
hearing. One would have had Graham working for one of his former investors to market serums made out of elks' blood. The other
was a deal through which, Graham, an unpublished novelist ( a talent no one had known about up until that time) would sell
one of his books to a Hollywood producer, who was interested in making it into a movie.
"I would like to not have to go
to jail," Graham said. "I have a goal of paying back every one of my investors 100 percent. I would like to be with my family,
my grandchildren and my church family and not be gone."
The elks' blood serums did not impress Judge Darnold, who was
not impressed with Graham's scientic expertise, noting that Graham had taken chemistry in college six times before getting
a D grade. It was not all bad for Graham on the educational front, the judge noted. "I see you had a B in volleyball," he
said, adding, "This is not a scientist."
The investors did not receive a cent and Graham began making his motions, all
of which have been rejected by Judge Darnold and in the appellate system.
As Graham was sentenced by Judge Darnold, his
youngest daughter and his son-in-law watched intently. David Hoyt's phone call had begun the process that put his father-in-law
behind bars for 15 years. "I felt we had a responsibility to those investors," he said. "Those people were being cheated."
Graham's daughter, Michelle, agreed with her husband's action, though the pain in her face as her father was sentenced
was undeniable. "People think we took that money," she said, holding on to her husband's arm, "but we didn't come out of this
with a cent. I want people to know that."
KILLER'S APPEAL REJECTED
BY FEDERAL COURT PANEL
Convicted killer Doyle Kelley will not receive a new trial.
A three-judge panel of the U. S. Eighth Circuit
Court of Appeals ruled July 16 that Kelley's rights were not violated when he was convicted in 1994 of murdering both of his
wives. Kelley was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing his first wife, Diana Kelley, and his second wife, Christy Kelley.
The Missouri Court of Appeals reversed the conviction on Christy Kelley's murder, saying that hearsay testimony had been
improperly admitted at the trial. At that point, the federal court allowed Kelley to appeal on whether the two cases should
have been tried as one. Kelley's attorneys argued that the cases should have been separated because the two women were killed
in different ways. Christy Kelley drowned and Diana Kelley died of respiratory failure. The deaths occured two years apart.
In its opinion, the appellate panel said Kelley had "not demonstrated that he was subject to clear prejudice." The panel
also rejected Kelley's contention that the two deaths were dissimilar. "As the state appellate court noted, both victims were
married to and separated from him before their deaths, both had appointments to meet with him before they died, and evidence
existed that both were battered around the time of death."
The body of Diana Kelley was found in her car in a Joplin parking
lot on Sept. 26, 1990. Her husband had filed a missing persons report. He told the police he and his wife had been separated
for about two weeks, but had agreed to meet at 9 p.m. the night before her body was found. Kelley said she did not show up
for the meeting. He said that he had called Diana's mother twice the night before her body was discovered asking for her.
Mrs. Kelley's mother, Virginia Stepp, told police that he had called and that her daughter had told her she was afraid of
Kelley. She had been staying with her mother for about two weeks. The initial autopsy showed that she died of respiratory
failure. Dr. James Habermann, who conducted the autopsy, said he could not tell if she had died of strangulation. Debra Stout,
a friend of Diana Kelley, said she had visited her the night before and had been wearing a gold chain and a St. Christopher
medal. Two days after Diana Kelley's death, Ms. Stout visited Kelley. While she was there, Kelley took the gold chain and
St. Christopher medal to the basement and "smashed it, I believe, with a hammer," she testified at the trial. Kelley told
her the items had been given to him by "the police or someone at the mortuary."
Police officers testified that the chain
and medal had not been at the crime scene. Diana Kelley's mother said she had been at the mortuary when the employees gave
her daughter's jewelry to Kelley. She said she did not see a St. Christopher's medal among the items given to Kelley.
next year, Kelley married his second wife, Christy. They separated in March 1993. Kelley and Christy Kelley arranged to meet
April 24, 1993, to exchange property. Witnesses saw them on the parking lot of Christy Kelley's apartment building that afternoon.
One witness saw Kelley alone at his wife's apartment that day.
The next day, Christy's family contacted the Joplin Police
Department and asked that officers check on Christy since she was several hours overdue to pick up her daughter. The officers
had to break down the door of the apartment. They found Christy Kelley's body floating face down in the bathtub. The autopsy,
performed by Dr. Darrell Swank, showed that Christy had a deep laceration on her forehead caused by blunt force trauma, vomit
in her mouth and edema in her lungs. He concluded that her death was caused by drowning.
On Aug. 25, 1993, Diana Kelley's
body was exhumed. Dr. Jill Gould conducted new autopsies on both of Kelley's wives. She concluded that Diana Kelley had died
from strangulation and that the blunt trauma that Christy Kelley had suffered was not consistent with falling in the bathtub.
While Doyle Kelley awaited trial, he allegedly told a fellow inmate, Lonnie Bell, that he had strangled both of his wives.
JOPLIN MAN'S CHILD SUPPORT
DOES NOT HAVE TO INCLUDE
EXPENSIVE PRIVATE SCHOOL
By Randy Turner
Joplin man will not have to pay more than $6,000 a year to have his daughter educated at Thomas Jefferson Independent Day
School, thanks to a ruling issued late last month by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District.
court had earlier agreed with the man, who said there was nothing wrong with public schools for his child and did not include
the tuition in the final judgment saying that the couple's daughter "does not have any special educational needs that cannot
be met in a public school."
The wife testified that their daughter had always attended a private school and that she wanted
her to continue there because "Her friends are there. She's been there for seven years. She's a smart child. She's excelling.
She's doing very well. And that's the environment that she feels most comfortable with. That's like home to her."
said that the divorce had been traumatic for her daughter and that changing schools would also be a traumatic experience.
During cross-examination from her husband's attorney, she said there was "nothing wrong" with public schools.
said he and his wife had discussed taking their daughter out of Thomas Jefferson and that his wife had not opposed the action
at that time. He said he wanted his daughter in a public school so that she would have "a more rounded education" as far as
"interacting with different people and this public school system is fine."
The cost of the private schooling, $6,000 would
have taken up nearly 25 percent of the husband's income, according to the court decision. The trial court ruling said, "It's
a true sacrifice for the parties to have been sending the child to Thomas Jefferson in the past. And if the child continues
to go to Thomas Jefferson, it's going to be an extraordinary expense for a couple with this standard of living."
opinion was written by Judge James K. Prewitt, who said, "I have every confidence that the public schools can provide the
educational needs of most, if not any, child, However dissolution is difficult for the child. Not allowing the child to continue
at the school she has been attending would make it more so. Allowing children to continue at a private school can be a condition
essential to the welfare of the child. I do not see this as an issue of "particular educational needs,' but as one of making
the dissolution trauma as minimal as possible for the child. I am a great believer in public education and think that in most
circumstances a court should not order a party to pay all or part of the cost of private schooling over his or her wishes,
except where the initial decision to send the child to a private school was made by both parents. I am not convinced that
the financial circumstances of the parties would forego keeping the child in the school that she has always attended. For
these reasons, I respectfully dissent in part."
JUNE 21, 2001
FORMER SARCOXIE CITY CLERK'S
ARRAIGNMENT IS POSTPONED
By John Hacker
A former Sarcoxie city clerk will be back in Jasper Associate County
Circuit Court on Wednesday to face a charge that she stole money from the city of Sarcoxie.
Leaetta Jasumback, who was
Sarcoxie's city clerk from June 1998 until April 2001, was charged on June 1 with one count of misdemeanor stealing.
Prosecutor Dean Dankelson said Jasumback is accused of stealing less than $750 from the city.
Dankelson said the theft
allegedly occured on Jan. 17.
City officials would not comment on the case except to say that they were aware of the theft
and the investigation, and that it hasn't significantly affected city operations.
"It's being handled internally as a
personnel matter," said City Clerk Penny Dean. "The city has been on top of this for a long time and we've already turned
the case over to our attorney."
Dankelson said the theft was filed as a misdemeanor because less than $750 was involved.
He said cash was taken, but he could not be more specific about how much was taken.
Dankelson also said the case was investigated
by the Highway Patrol.
City officials referred all other questions to City Attorney Henry Clapper.
June 19, however, Clapper was listed as Jasumback's defense attorney in court records.
The court docket says Clapper filed
a motion for a delay on behalf of Jasumback on Monday, June 18. The Associate Circuit Clerk's office confirmed by telephone
Tuesday that Clapper was listed in the case file as Jasumback's attorney of record.
Dean told The Sarcoxie Record early
Tuesday afternoon, June 19, that Clapper could not represent Jasumback because he represented the city. Dean said later that
day that she had talked to Clapper and he said he was not representing Jasumback.
The court record shows that Clapper
filed a motion at 4:25 p.m. on June 19, to withdraw as Jasumback's attorney. He cited "a potential conflict" as the reason
Jasumback is scheduled for arraignment on Wednesday, June 27.
JENNIFER MARTIN LEAVES
AFTER 32 YEARS
By Randy Turner
The glue that held The Carthage Press together for more than three decades ended
her long association with the newspaper Friday, June 22.
Jennifer Martin, composing room foreman, who joined the paper
directly out of high school, has taken a position with a Joplin shopper. Jenny began her career as a typesetter after her
high school graduation in 1969. She said during a 1994 interview commemorating her 25th anniversary at the paper, that she
initially intended to stay only one year. After The Press went from linotype to offset printing in 1971, her duties were expanded.
In addition to typesetting, she began setting advertising copy.
Her excellent work in the composing room led to her promotion
to foreman about 15 years ago.
JAMES R. MONTGOMERY, DEAD AT 60?
By Randy Turner
The first and only time
I ever raised the dead was a little more than 17 years ago. I was editor of The Lamar Democrat in the early 1980s when we
ran an obituary on a former presidential candidate who died at a young age. I was still the editor of The Democrat a year
later when I saw the same man, James R. Montgomery, walking into a bar in Lamar...the same bar where he allegedly wrote his
obituary. The Democrat, The Carthage Press, Joplin Globe and other newspapers reported Montgomery's death.
He died again
last month, according to an obituary in the May 8 edition of The Carthage Press. His obituary did not run in any other paper
as far as I could tell. It said services were held Friday, May 11, at Lake Cemetery in Lamar. The obituary indicated he died
in Lancaster. Pa.
The death of James R. Montgomery brought back a treasure trove of memories. My first meeting with Montgomery
came when I was editor of the Lockwood Luminary-Golden City Herald in 1979. Montgomery, a Lamar native who was living in Oronogo
at the time, picked the Barton County Courthouse as the site for his entrance into the 1980 U. S. presidential race.
remember a reporter from Channel 7, another one from Channel 16 and Lou Nell Clark from The Democrat were surrounding the
tall, distinguished gentleman with the booming baritone voice who was expounding his political beliefs on the courthouse steps.
Unfortunately for them, that man was Leo Suiter, an Alabaman who served as Montgomery's vice presidential candidate. He had
been chosen after answering an ad Montgomery put in a country music magazine. Suiter, in an obvious slap in the face at then
President Jimmy Carter introduced his brother, Billy, to the media. Billy was dressed in overalls, smoked a pipe and claimed
he was looking for something to drink, but could only find a Mountain Dew.
For about 10 minutes while the other reporters
believed they were interviewing the presidential candidate, I was in the bandstand interviewing James Montgomery, the mousy
little guy with the Wally Cox voice.
His voice may have been mousy, but he was impassioned in his beliefs. He was fighting
Social Security inequities. He was fighting for God, country and the American dream...he was fighting a losing battle.
got swallowed up in the 1980 presidential race, despite his early start. It was well reported in early 1980 when President
Carter said, "If Teddy Kennedy runs, I'll whip his ass," no one ever confirmed the rumor that he said, "And that goes for
James Montgomery, too." Suiter said at the 1979 press conference that he and Montgomery had considered the Democratic party
but felt Carter was certain to be renominated.
Montgomery attacked Carter in his bandstand speech. "Our president gave
away the Panama Canal,. If President Carter can give it away, James R. Montgomery can get it back."
He never got the chance.
After the 1980 presidential race came to a conclusion, it appeared that the media wouldn't have James Montgomery to kick
around any more. His political career appeared to come to a tragic end when he died at the age of 42 in 1982.
say all you want to about Richard Nixon's political comeback. All he did was lose to Kennedy for president in 1960, lose to
Pat Brown for governor of California in 1962, then come back and win the race for president six years later.
came back from the dead.
He admitted to me he never really was dead after briefly trying me to convince me that it was
only a temporary thing. The news of his death, he said, had been greatly exaggerated by his enemies, the same socialists who
had sabotaged his presidential candidacy.
In 1987, the politically savvy Montgomery filed for two political offices. He
filed for Ward One alderman in the city of Lamar and for a seat on the Barton County Health Department Board of Trustees.
His entry into the Ward One race made it a three-way battle. With no incumbent running, Montgomery, a veteran of the political
wars, faced two rookies, Max Simmons and Lamar Democrat Publisher Doug Davis. "This is one poor person, me, against the Lamar
rich," Montgomery said, staking out a claim on the vote of the little guy. The 46-year-old noted his long political history,
including "46 years experience in government."
Montgomery feared nothing, including the city of Lamar's biggest employer,
O'Sullivan Industries."Right now," he said, "we have only one large manufacturer that seems to monopolize the labor force.
When a company monopolizes, you leave the door open for discrimination." He also claimed he would clean out the "lazy city
employees," if he were elected. "We have too many just putting in their time while those who do the work get little wages."
The ones making the high salaries, he said, "just sit around and goof off all day long."
Montgomery vowed to work for
those who were victims of discrimination. "I know what discrimination is," he said. "I've been there."
appeared to be good when the man perceived by most observers to be the top candidate, Davis, found out that a conflict of
interest might keep his newspaper from being able to accept any advertising from the city if he were elected.
that a law that would require the city to seek competitive bids each time it needed to put a legal notice in The Lamar Democrat
would cause considerable problems for him and for the city. If the city were to take bids, he said, it would have to publish
a legal notice saying it was taking bids on the advertisement and would have no place in which to do it. Davis called the
law absurd and blamed political activist Lou Rix (now Lou Scroggs), who brought up the issue. He said she would have used
it against him if he were elected.
"If it hadn't been for her," Davis said, "I could have served the city. I don't think
anyone else would have been bothered by it."
Mrs. Rix said she didn't think that was true. "I did not have anything to
do with the law when it was written years ago, but I agree with it 100 percent. Besides, I wonder what other laws he is obeying
just because I live in Lamar."
Davis dropped out of the race, making the announcement that he would not be able to serve
if elected in an an issue of The Democrat. A few days later, as Democrat editor, I served as moderator of a candidate forum
in the Lamar Middle School cafeteria. It included mayoral candidates Gerald Gilkey (who recently retired after serving as
mayor for 36 years) and Dr. Kent Torbeck, Third Ward alderman candidates Marion Elswick and Pat Ross and First Ward candidates
Davis, Simmons and Montgomery.
With Davis apparently unable to serve, Montgomery, the former presidential candidate, appeared
to have the inside track. But, in doing my background checks on the candidates, I discovered some big discrepancies in Montgomery's
He claimed to be a member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists
and the American Society of Composers and Publishers. I checked with those organizations and they had no record of James Montgomery
ever having been a member.
He also claimed to be a member of three non-existent organizations, "Christians United for
Justice," "Americans Against Political Punishment," and "Christians Against Drunk Doctors." He had even served on the Christians
Against Drunk Doctors' board, he said.
He also claimed to have been appointed as one of the two American delegates to
attend a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, for the non-existent Christians United for Justice.
An apparently fake charity
drive in 1986 also came back to haunt Montgomery. The Joplin Globe reported that Lamar area churches and the Boy Scouts were
helping Montgomery with a door-to-door canned food drive. I checked at that time with the Lamar Police Department and with
the Barton County Division of Family Services. Police Chief Ron Hager told me Montgomery had broken no laws but his activities
Montgomery told me he had been misquoted by The Globe. I didnt say the Boy Scouts would be helping.
I said some Boy Scouts would. He said he had also been misquoted about the churches. "I didn't say churches would be helping
us, just some church members." The drive never took place.
With Davis apparently out of the race and Montgomery crippled
by these shattering revelations, Max Simmons emerged as the front runner. That was the political atmosphere on March 23, 1987,
as the candidate forum began. It was a night filled with magic moments.
Staking out the high road on the issues, Dr. Torbeck
claimed he was the best looking candidate in the mayoral race. Mayor Gilkey's wife, Betty, jumped up and said that wasn't
The suspense at the forum came when it was time for the Ward One candidates to be introduced. Only one, Simmons,
was there. But at the last moment, Davis walked in. A hush fell over the cafeteria. Mothers held their children close as he
strode to the stage. He made a brief statement, echoing the newspaper announcement that he could not run, then left the stage
and walked out of the cafeteria.
"My job's getting easier," Simmons said. "I found out this morning one of my opponents
(Davis) has dropped out. I don't know my opponent James Montgomery. I appreciate your vote and I'll do my best for my ward
and the entire city."
Montgomery later claimed he could not attend the forum because he had to be in Kansas City for a
civil rights meeting.
After the candidate forum, Davis made a dramatic re-entrance into the race, running full-page advertisements
in his newspaper, declaring "I can serve."
Davis was elected with 242 votes. Simmons had 162. Montgomery pulled in only
16. Montgomery came much closer in the Health Department Board of Trustees race, getting 1,409 votes in an apparently well-financed
effort to defeat Mrs. Rix. She finished third in the race for three seats. Montgomery finished fourth.
After that defeat,
times grew tough for the former presidential candidate. In September 1988, The Joplin Globe reported that Montgomery was living
in a cardboard box on the banks of Muddy Creek. He said that after his trailer had burned on May 12, 1988, he had been left
homeless and had slept in the cardboard box, which he said was "like sleeping in your own grave."
A Golden City resident
told me that during much of the time Montgomery was allegedly sleeping in the cardboard box, he was staying at a home in Golden
City. After the Globe story was printed, Barton County law enforcement officials found no evidence that anyone had been living
on the banks of Muddy Creek.
In March 1989, James R. Montgomery, under a plea agreement, pleaded guilty in Barton County
Circuit Court to a charge of misdemeanor stealing. He admitted to changing a $5 Salvation Army voucher to $55 and trying to
pass it off at Lamar Supermarket. Judge David Darnold followed Prosecuting Attorney James Nichols's recommendation and sentenced
Montgomery to 60 days in the Barton County Jail, then placed him on one-year supervised probation.
It appeared that it
was curtains for Montgomery's political life, but he bounced back for one more campaign in 1991. Montgomery, 50 at the time,
mounted a second effort to be elected to the Health Department Board of Trustees. He picked up 677 votes to finish fourth
in a race for three seats. Defeating him were incumbent Larry Kuhn with 2,070 votes, Doris Kelsey with 1,987, and Karen Wegener
Eventually, Montgomery left Barton County. A friend of mine saw him in Springfield, then later I heard that
he had moved east. The last I heard of Montgomery four years ago, was a story that he was in need of a kidney transplant.
That seems to lend credence this time to the report of Montgomery's death. It sure would be nice, though, if it were just
another scam the wily political veteran was pulling on the non-suspecting news staff at The Carthage Press.
rejected Montgomery's efforts for political office. If he had been elected to that Ward One council seat, then re-elected
every two years, Lamar could have been the only place in the country to still have a Montgomery Ward.
VERDICT IN NIEBUR LAWSUIT
By Randy Turner
Despite a $1.7 million judgment against her by a federal
jury, Cicero, Ill. Town President Betty Loren-Maltese hasnt changed her estimation of the citys former police chief David
Niebur one bit. Ms. Maltese, according to The Chicago Tribune, called the former Joplin police chief "unprofessional" and
said she would appeal the jurys ruling that Niebur had been fired for cooperating with an FBI investigation into town corruption.
In addition to the $1.7 million penalty assessed against the city, the jury awarded Niebur and another officer an additional
$100,000 in punitive damages from Ms. Loren-Maltese.
Niebur was featured in an article in the Saturday, May 26, New York
Times. He told a Times reporter, "The hell hopefully is over now. It's just like I had just taken the most wonderful hot shower
and whirlpool bath. It was just a cleansing effect. It was three years of hell."
The controversy Niebur ran into in Cicero
was not the first that had enveloped the veteran police officer. As reported in an earlier edition of The Turner Report,Niebur
had run into controversy earlier during his brief stint in Cicero.
According to a March 13, 1998, Associated Press article,
Niebur supported a deal in which Cicero city officials agreed to pay $10,000 to print and distribute Ku Klux Klan literature
in exchange for the Klan agreeing not to stage a rally in the city.
"I guess it could be deemed extortion in one sense,"
Niebur said in the AP article, "but I don't see it that way. I think this is really a sensible solution under the circumstances."
The deal was struck by city officials to prevent violence. In the article, Niebur said security fences alone would have cost
approximately $20,000 and the town would have had to foot the bill for state troopers for added security.
A Niebur deal
with the Ku Klux Klan would not have surprised people who knew him from his days with Minnesota police departments. According
to an article in the May 1, 1998, Chicago Tribune, Niebur was one of several officers named in a federal civil rights lawsuit
in the 1960s in a small Minnesota town where he worked as a police supervisor. A jury found the officers and the department
had harassed a black driver, the article said.
When he was with the Minneapolis, Minn., Police Department, he had a running
battle with the Minneapolis Urban League over arrest rates of African-Americans, the article said. "He had a reputation for
being a racist for stopping a lot of black people on the road," former Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza told The Tribune.
Bouza, however, did not agree with that assessment. "I looked at the racism issue and didn't see any racism in his actions,"
he told The Tribune. Bouza, in fact, promoted Niebur to head of internal affairs, according to an article in the Jan 12, 1989,
Minnesota Daily, despite a record that included "42 investigations into charges of brutality, harassment and assault, primarily
involving minorities," the article said.
The article noted that there was not enough evidence to prove wrongdoing in almost
all of the charges. The Chicago Tribune article placed the number of investigations at 48 and said charges against Niebur
were sustained in eight of them.
Shortly after Bouza appointed Niebur head of internal affairs, Urban League President
Gleason Glover sent Bouza a letter complaining about Niebur's record for dealing with minorities.
Niebur was removed from
the position shortly after Bouza was replaced by John Laux as police chief. "His (Niebur's) appointment was inappropriate
in the first place," Urban League Vice President Gary Sudduth told The Minnesota Daily. "I think Chief Laux realized that
if there was going to be honest rebuilding of relations with the minority community, Niebur would be a glitch in that process."
Though Niebur had asked the minority community in Minneapolis to give him a chance during an interview with the Minneapolis
Star-Tribune shortly after he was appointed head of internal affairs, any chance of receiving one might have ended five years
earlier when he was involved in the shooting death of an unarmed black man named Sal Saran Scott, according to the article
in The Minnesota Daily. Niebur also didn't help his cause when he told the Star-Tribune about his activities when he was a
traffic control officer. According to the article, "He said that he unlawfully searched cars without probable cause and issued
a record number of citations in one year, almost 6,000. Minority leaders complained that a disproportionate number of those
citations was given to minorities.
"I stopped a lot of blacks," Niebur told the Star-Tribune, "but I stopped a lot of
whites. I stopped everybody, anyone that moved."
Since the Cicero firing, Niebur has been unable to land a law enforcement
;osition. He told The New York Times, "I miss law enforcement every breathing moment of my life."
FOR LEGGETT HONCHOS
By Randy Turner
Carthage's Fortune 500 company, Leggett & Platt, has not been immune to
the misfortunes that have struck our nation's economy during recent months. Documents filed earlier this week with the Federal
Securities and Exchange Commission show that Leggett officials have had to tighten their belts just like everyone else.
always, they have sought to make sure that the attention of the public is focused squarely on their employees. Leggett closed
its Springfield facility a few months back costing 75 people their jobs. And even though Leggett officials were also bearing
the brunt of financial hardship, they kept that from the media, choosing, quite modestly, to let the publicity go to their
loyal former employees.
Sure those people had to find other lines of work, but they weren't the only ones who suffered.
Despite reassuring Leggett stockholders by eliminating superfluous jobs in Springfield and elsewhere, Chairman of the Board
Harry M. Cornell Jr. actually took a PAY REDUCTION in 2000, according to the SEC documents. Cornell received only $603,000
in salary, down from the $620,885 he received in 1999. Fortunately in this area, there are coupons waiting to be clipped.
Of course, helping to ease the burden was the $400,000 in bonuses Cornell received to lift him up to slightly over the
million mark. Even that was down from the over half a million in bonuses he received the year before and the more than $660,000
in bonuses he earned in 1998.
Cornell is not the only official who might be well advised to save a penny or two for a
rainy day. Chief Executive Officer Felix Wright dropped from the $652,874 he received in 1999 to the $698,180 (wait a minute,
he actually had an increase, can that be correct?)
Yes, Wright did receive more money in 2000. Not only did he get a salary
increase of more than $45,000, according to the SEC documents, but he received more than $447,000 in stock options and $200,000
Other Leggett officials and their compensation, according to the SEC documents, include: Michael Glauber,
senior vice president, $328,341 salary, $157,261 bonus; David Haffner, executive vice president, $472,411 salary and $252,042
bonus and Robert Jeffries, strategic planning, $414,138 salary, $198,721 bonus. Jeffries, Haffner and Glauber each received
sizable salary increases in the year 2000.
A good pension plan helped Mr. Cornell, who reached age 70 1/2 on April 5,
1999. Under his retirement plan, according to the SEC documents, he began receiving monthly retirement income in April 2000.
He received a lump sum payment of $324,977 and received $44,708 in retirement benefits each month in 2000. He is scheduled
to receive $25,776 a month this year.
Mr. Cornell is required to receive his retirement benefits, even though the SEC
documents indicate he has not retired. "If Mr. Cornell retired at Dec. 31, 2001," the document said, "his estimated annual
supplemental pension payment would be $762,848. If Mr. Wright retired at Dec. 31, 2001, his estimated annual supplemental
pension payment would be $406,879."
But what happens if Cornell, Wright or other Leggett officials get fired? Are they
in danger of losing their benefits. Not according to the SEC documents. Cornell, Wright and Jeffries have severance agreements
in place with Leggett. These benefits "have no fixed expiration dates." They have employment contracts that expire on May
10, 2002, Oct. 1, 2002, and Dec. 31, 2006, respectively.
According to the terms of their contracts, even if Leggett has
to lay off hundreds of workers, Wright, 65, and Jeffries, 59, will receive increases in their salaries.at least equal to the
percentage increase they received the previous year. Of course, they have the option, according to the contract, of turning
down their pay increases.
If Wright is fired, the SEC documents say, he will not only receive his pension, but a supplemental
pension will automatically kick in. If Wright is fired, he will receive his full pay until Oct 1, 2002. Jeffries would receive
full pay until April 4, 2006, if he were fired tomorrow (April 4, 2001).
Unless, they are fired, Cornell and Wright also
have the option of becoming highly paid consultants for Leggett for two years if they quit. If Cornell elected to do so, they
would receive 100 percent of their 1998 salaries for the first year and 75 percent of those salaries for the second year.
Wright would receive 60 percent of his 1998 salary the first year and 60 percent during the second year.
The SEC documents
also say that Cornell leases property in Keystone, Colo., to Leggett for $1,925 a month.
During Leggett's annual shareholders'
meeting next month, the shareholders will vote on a proposal that would restate its 1989 flexible stock plan, which is "intended
to aid the company in attracting, motivating and rewarding management employees through the granting of stock options and
other stock-based benefits.
Obviously, some kind of incentive is needed. You'll never be able to attract good management
if this is all you are offering in benefits.
RULING PUTS LAWSUIT AGAINST FORMER
GUEST HOUSE OWNERS ON HOLD
A federal judge ruled last month that a lawsuit against Robert J. Dupont, Jr, owner of the Guest House of
Joplin and others accused of defrauding Medicare will be delayed until after criminal charges against them are settled.
U. S. District Judge Scott O. Wright issued the ruling March 22 to enable Dupont and other defendants to fully concentrate
on preparing their defense for the criminal case.
The United States government opened a second front in its battle with
the owner of the Guest House of Joplin Nov. 9, filing a lawsuit against Dupont Jr in U. S. District Court for the Western
District of Missouri.
DuPont and a number of business associates are cited in the lawsuit. They were also indicted in
June 2000 by a federal grand jury for Medicare fraud. Among those indicted and also listed as defendants in the lawsuit are
DuPont's former Guest House partner, Karl Otis Householder of Milo, and DuPont's daughter, Kelley Liveoak. Dupont currently
owns the Joplin Guest House, Anderson Guest House, Carl Junction Guest House and the St. Louis Guest House. Ms. Liveoak served
as the administrator for those facilities.
In the first and second counts of the seven-count lawsuit, the government alleges
that false or fraudulent claims for homebound health services were made for an individual who was not homebound.
count alleges that Dupont and Ms. Liveoak made false or fradulent claims for personal care for people who were hospitalized
at other facilities.The fourth count alleges Householder made false or fraudulent claims for personal care for people who
were hospitalized in other facilities. Householder was claiming the people were at the Lamar Guest House, the Butler Guest
House or were under the care of Regal Home Health or Sterling Home Health, two businesses co-owned by Householder.
count alleges common fraud. On each count, the government is asking for $10,000 in damages for each of dozens of cases and
then asking that that amount be tripled.
The Guest House of Joplin, as reported exclusively in The Turner Report, has
been denied license renewal by the Missouri Division of Aging because of a continued problem with contaminated drinking water.
According to Division of Aging documents, the drinking water was contaminated because the Guest House does not dispose
of its sewage properly. Raw sewage backed up in the backyard, eventually contaminating the drinking water. The problem was
first noticed in a May 31 state inspection. It had not been corrected when state inspectors returned Aug. 7 and Aug. 10.
notice of non-compliance has been issued, as well as a notice of denial of license renewal "due to lack of correction of (violations
of) Class I and Class II standards."
As The Turner Report noted recently, Dupont and Householder lost another battle in
court when the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled in favor of the city of Springfield, which Dupont and Householder's
company, Sandhill, Inc., claimed had violated the Fair Housing Act when it closed its Springfield Guest House due to zoning
Sandhill was also the owner of the Lamar Guest House, which was closed by the Missouri Division of Aging
The federal indictment indicates Dupont, Householder and the others were involved in a conspiracy to send Sandhill
patients to specific doctors. The doctors would then say that the patients needed home health services from Sterling Home
Health Care, Inc., a Lamar company owned by Householder and Dupont, Home Health Care, Inc., and A to Z Billing Services, Inc.,
both of Joplin, and both owned by Dupont. Dupont had been co-owner of Sandhill from 1993 to 1996.
The problems of Sandhill,
Inc., were spelled out in documents filed in U. S. Bankruptcy Court. The company bought property in Springfield and opened
a residential care center but ran into a tidal wave of opposition from people who lived near the proposed center and from
The city of Springfield refused to issue necessary local licenses, company officials claimed in the Bankruptcy
Court documents. They also claimed the Department of Housing and Urban Development had referred the matter to the U. S. Justice
Department with a recommendation to bring discrimination charges against the city of Springfield. Householder and Dupont filed
the discrimination suit against the city March 7, 1997, in U. S. District Court. Dupont said they were seeking more than $5
million in damages. The city had closed the Guest House in 1993 saying it did not have a city business license. Dupont said
the closing was motivated by the presence of black residents at the Guest House.
In Bankruptcy Court documents, Sandhill
officials said the city of Springfield closed the Springfield Guest House solely because "mentally handicapped people resided
therein." Dupont told this reporter in a 1997 interview that many of the accusations made by officials of the Missouri Division
of Aging against the Springfield facility were not accurate. He said accusations that people were administering insulin shots
without training were incorrect. Another problem cited by the state was a lack of counseling for a patient with a history
of cocaine abuse. Dupont said, "We were told by the Department of Probation and Parole to hold off on the counseling program,
then we were cited by the Division of Aging for doing what we were told to do." The District Court did not agree that Sandhill
had been the victim of discrimination and granted a summary judgment in favor of the city of Springfield.
EMBREY LOSES ANOTHER
ROUND IN FEDERAL COURT
By Randy Turner
Though he has already been rebuffed once in his
efforts, convicted bank robber William J. R. Embrey, a former Granby resident, is taking another shot at suing the Highway
Patrol officers who stopped him near Norwood on Dec. 5, 1998, claiming they violated his civil rights.
In the lawsuit,
filed last week in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Embrey, who is spending his days in a medium-security
prison in Beaumont, Texas, is suing Missouri Highway Patrol troopers Stephen L. Grass and C. N. Ponder, Assistant U. S. Attorney
David C. Jones, Magistrate Judge James C. England and Darryl B. Johnson Jr.
Embrey, acting as his own attorney, outlined
the "facts" in his petition. He said Grass and Ponder were "trolling the highways for the purpose of targeting out-of state
and rental vehicles then creating and/or finding reasons to stop said vehicles for the sole purpose of searching for drugs"
on Dec. 5, 1998.
Embrey, 60, and his half-brother, Luie White, 51, Diamond, were charged with possession of firearms by
a convicted felon following the traffic stop, according to court records. White, who was driving, initially denied knowing
who Embrey was, according to a news release from the U. S. Attorney's office, but then identified him as Herbert Jensen. After
further questioning, the passenger identified himself as William Embrey. The trooper asked for permission to search the car.
At that point, according to the federal indictment, Embrey began to show heart attack symptoms and asked for antiglycerine
pills which he said were in the trunk of his car. Embrey has a history of heart problems.
As he got out of the car, the
trooper noticed two 9 mm ammunition clips on the seat where he was sitting, according to the indictment. After putting Embrey
in an ambulance, authorities said, a loaded handgun was found on the ground where he had been sitting. Three shotguns, three
revolvers, more ammunition, Halloween masks, wigs, makeup, gloves, a police scanner and two-way radios were also found in
the car's trunk.
According to an Associated Press report, one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said state
and federal authorities believed Embrey and White, who were convicted in 1980 for the 1979 robbery of the Cornerstone Bank
of Southwest City, were preparing to rob another bank.
The Southwest City robbery took place on March 11, 1979, when Embrey
and White approached Darrell Spillers and his family at their Southwest City home and demanded money. Spillers, a bank official,
took more than $11,000 from the bank, while Embrey and White held his family hostage.
They took for Oklahoma in Spillers'
car, taking him with them as "insurance," in case Spillers had called the police while he was at the bank. When they reached
their getaway car, they released Spillers unharmed.
Embrey was later convicted in U. S. District Court for the Western
District of Missouri on charges of armed bank robbery, in violation of the Federal Bank Robbery Act and kidnapping in violation
of the Federal Kidnapping Act.
On Sept. 19, 1980, Embrey was sentenced to two consecutive 20-year sentences. After numerous
appeals were thrown out, Embrey finally struck gold in 1997 when a panel of the Eighth District Court of Appeals ruled that
he should not have been convicted of kidnapping as well as bank robbery and that he was, in effect, being punished twice for
the same crime.
Since Embrey had already served his time on the bank robbery charge, he was released from prison. The
full court of appeals later reversed that decision and Embrey was free on bond awaiting a hearing on his appeal when he was
stopped near Norwood.
He had been living and working in the Fargo, N. D., area since he was freed on appeal.
efforts to appeal his kidnapping conviction were also unsuccessful...because he waited 18 years to file them. The reason he
waited so long was because he had already served time and was out on probation when he was arrested in Missouri on the weapons
Embrey is asking to be awarded $250,000 from each of the Highway Patrol officers, that an injunction be issued
against them to keep them from trolling and targeting out-of state and rental vehicles. He is asking for a jury trial.
JAN. 20, 2001 TURNER REPORT
SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE SET FOR
TEACHER, NEOSHO R-5 OFFICIALS
By Randy Turner
Turner Report has received information that a settlement conference between Cammy Brown and the Neosho R-5 School District
has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, in Suite 2200, of the United States Courthouse at 222 North John Q. Hammons
Parkway in Springfield.
U. S. Magistrate Judge James C. England has ordered that the lead attorneys for Ms. Brown and
the school district be present, as well as anyone else whose approval is needed for a settlement to be official. R-5 officials
attempted to fire Ms. Brown after she sent a nude e-mail of herself to a person who turned out to be working in league with
her estrange husband. The husband allegedly tried to use the pictures to get his wife to return to him and then used them
to try to get her to lose her teaching position.
Sources close to the lawsuit have indicated that R-5 officials will drop
their efforts to have the state revoke Ms. Brown's teaching license. One result of the negotiations is expected to be that
Ms. Brown will not be fired from her position at Neosho, but will submit her resignation. A buyout which could pay her for
the 2000-2001 school year may be included in the settlement, one source indicated. In return, Ms. Brown will drop her lawsuit
against R-5 officials, including former Superintendent Ron Barton, who released information about the e-mails to the media.
The attempts to fire Ms. Brown came after the only incident in a career which has seen her serve as president of the local
chapter of the International Reading Association, serve as one of the directors of the annual Young Authors Conference at
Missouri Southern State College and write several successful state grants.
The most recent actions were taken after documents
were filed Dec. 18 and 19 in U. S. District Court, asking Ms. Brown to provide the district's attorneys with eight years worth
of telephone records plus numerous records of her e-mail messages and chatroom conversations. Ms. Brown received copies of
seven subpoenas which had been served on people who are not parties to the lawsuit filed by Ms. Brown in an effort to regain
her teaching job at a Neosho elementary school. The R-5 Board of Education fired Ms. Brown, citing moral reasons, but a judge
stayed that firing and she remains suspended with pay. The first subpoena mentioned in the most recent court filing went to
Leah Brecunier of Critical Path, Inc., a California firm. The R-5 District's attorneys said they wanted "any and all documents"
related to Ms. Brown's e-mail address or the e-mail address of Steve Hobbert, the man to whom she allegedly sent the nude
photos. The second subpoena was to AOL Custodian of Records asking for all e-mail communications made by Ms. Brown. The most
wide-reaching subpoena was directed to Southwestern Bell. The R-5 District asked for all of Ms. Brown's long distance records
back to 1992. "Despite (Ms. Brown's) request, defendants refused to narrow the scope of these subpoenas to cover information
relevant to this lawsuit," Ms. Brown's attorney said in the court document. The attorney asked the judge to limit the discovery.
The lawyer also offered another alternative, saying that if the judge decided not to limit the scope of inquiry, that the
documents should be delivered to the judge to be examined first. Ms. Brown's attorney noted that nothing related to the lawsuit
happened in 1992, but when the lawyer contacted attorneys for the R-5 School District, they refused to limit their subpoenas.
The filings were the first in the case since Ms. Brown indicated she intended to seek punitive damages against former Superintendent
Ron Barton. In documents filed Nov. 17 in U. S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Ms. Brown indicated that Barton
was responsible for making information about the nude pictures public during an interview with a Joplin Globe reporter. During
that interview, Barton said, "She might be able to get by with this in Chicago, but she can't get away with it in Neosho."
Ms. Brown is also suing current R-5 Superintendent Mark Mitchell and the members of the R-5 Board of Education. Mitchell was
added in the amended complaint. He took over for Barton on July 1. The amended complaint also says that a letter written by
Barton to the State Board of Education in an effort to have Ms. Brown's teaching certificate revoked contained allegations
with which she was never confronted, and that "some of the allegations were not true." Ms. Brown also charges Barton with
having an "evil motive" in taking the actions which he took against her. The details of the events that brought about Ms.
Brown's suspension are spelled out in the court documents. "In the fall and early winter of 1999, (Ms. Brown) e-mailed private,
revealing pictures of herself from her home computer to a person she had developed a relationship with over the Internet and
through telephone conversations. "(She) later learned that the person she was conversing with on the Internet was acting in
cooperation with her estranged husband, Richard Brown, from whom she had been separated since August 1999." After that, the
petition says, Brown threatened to show the photos to school officials "if she did not take him back." In August and December,
Brown entered Ms. Brown's home and took computer discs containing the revealing photos, the petition says. On Jan. 9, Ms.
Brown received a phone call and e-mail from a person claiming to be Renee Cooper telling her she had until midnight to take
her husband back "or she was going to e-mail (Ms. Brown's) private pictures to the principal and Barton, the petition said.
The next day, Ms. Brown told her principal and Barton about the threat and that she had e-mailed the pictures to someone she
met on the Internet. "Prior to January 10, 2000," the petition said, "the principal and Superintendent Barton were aware that
(Ms. Brown's) husband had wrongfully taken private, revealing pictures from her home and had threatened to blackmail her with
them, and that he was and had been mentally and physically abusive towards her." At the close of the meeting, the petition
said, Barton told Ms. Brown it was "a personal matter" and "she should not worry about the situation." On the same day, the
principal and Barton received an e-mail with the photographs attached. Ms. Brown's husband, using the Webb City Police Department's
fax machine (he worked there) sent a fax saying that Renee Cooper and others wanted to set up a meeting with the R-5 Board
of Education to discuss the photos. Barton denied the request. "Shortly thereafter," the petition said, "Barton informed the
Board of Education of the situation and informed them that he did not intend to take any action against Ms. Brown's employment
because it involved a personal matter." That was the way the situation stayed until March, according to the petition. Early
that month, Renee Cooper set up a meeting with Barton and brought him additional pictures of Ms. Brown along with a number
of "Internet exchanges between Ms. Brown and a person referring to himself as 'Steve.' " On March 10, Ms. Brown's principal
called her into the office and told her it would be "in her best interest to resign." Ms. Brown met with Barton, who told
her "he was concerned that the matter would become public because Renee Cooper threatened that she would make the information
public," the petition said. Ms. Brown's divorce attorney attended the meeting and told Barton she was in the process of getting
a protective order to prevent Brown and his friends from distributing the photos. Barton said that would help the situation.
At that meeting, according to the petition, Ms. Brown asked Barton if she could see the photos. Barton said she cold not see
them because he had given them to the district's attorney. Barton never told her about ICQ logs containing Internet exchanges
with Steve at that time, the petition said. On March 15, Missouri NEA representative Lori Cox met with Barton about the situation.
Barton said he was concerned with the information becoming public and told her he had already spoken to a Joplin Globe reporter
about it. On that same day, Barton placed Ms. Brown on a leave of absence with pay. The Joplin Globe article was published
the next day and everyone knew about Ms. Brown's nude photos. The headline of the article, a copy of which is included in
the court file, read, "Teacher Refuses to Resign; Nude Photographs at Issue." "We wanted her to resign," Barton told Globe
reporter Jeff Lehr. "We thought that would be the best thing. But I don't want to violate her civil rights." According to
the article, Barton said a perceived likelihood that the existence of the photos would become public knowledge compromised
Ms. Brown's credibility as a teacher in the Neosho community. Barton told The Globe that what a teacher does in the privacy
of her home is not normally a concern. "But if it becomes public knowledge that she's doing that sort of thing, we have a
problem." The only reason it became public knowledge was because of Barton, Ms. Brown's petition indicated. "(He) was responsible
for making Ms. Brown's personal affairs public on March 16, 2000, through the information he provided to The Joplin Globe
and other media." The petition noted that Ms. Brown had "made every reasonable effort to avoid the disclosure of her private
affairs to the public and declined various reporters' requests for interviews." On March 16, she obtained a temporary restraining
order against Brown and Ms. Cooper, preventing them from distributing the photos. A permanent injunction, a copy of which
was included in the court filed, was issued April 21 in Newton County Circuit Court. The Board announced on April 28 that
it would seek to have the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education revoke Ms. Brown's teaching license. A resolution
was approved by the board at its May 11 meeting and papers were filed with the state on the following day. The board leveled
two major charges at Ms. Brown. The first was "Immorality in that Ms. Brown distributed obscene pictures of herself through
an Internet chatroom and agreed to engage in sexual conduct with an unknown person on or about Sept. 11, 1999 to wit: -"Ms.
Brown engaged in a conversation with a person whom she did not know and whom she believed to be male. -"During that conversation,
Ms. Brown discussed sexual activities that she enjoyed. -"During that conversation, Ms. Brown agreed to meet this unknown
person in a motel room that evening and to engage in sexual activity. -"During that conversation, Ms. Brown sent photographs
of herself to this unknown person. These pictures included photographs of: 1. her bare breasts, 2. her genitalia, 3. her manual
manipulation of her genitalia. -"Ms. Brown's interactions with this unknown person on or about Sept. 8, 1999, became known
in the Neosho community. -"Ms. Brown's conduct violated the conditions of the IRCQ the net server, which specifically prohibits
transmission of obscene and objectionable material." The second charge was "Immorality in that Ms. Brown distributed obscene
pictures of herself through an internet chatroom on or around December 1999 to wit: -"Ms. Brown engaged in a conversation
with a person whom she did not know and whom she believed to be male. -"During that conversation, Ms. Brown discussed sexual
activities that she enjoyed. -"During that conversation, Ms. Brown sent photographs of herself to this unknown person." The
photographs contained the same information as given on the first charge. The charges were signed by Barton and the resolution
was approved by the R-5 Board of Education by a 6-0 vote. Ms. Brown initially filed her lawsuit May 15 and obtained an injunction
keeping the R-5 School District from firing her. In her petition, she said she has "suffered and continues to suffer emotional
distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, pain and suffering, harm to her reputation, humiliation, embarrassment,
lost earning potential and lost job opportunies during the summer semester." She claims the actions taken by Barton and the
board violate her right to freely associate and right to privacy as guaranteed by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th and 14th amendments
and that she was deprived of due process. She is asking that the court permanently prevent the board from seeking to revoke
her license, let her keep her job and that she be awarded damages and costs against all defendants and punitive damages against
REMEMBERED ON 10-YEAR
ANNIVERSARY OF HER DEATH
By Randy Turner
The words are simple ones, but to those who followed the ordeal the Cruzan family went through after a 1983 automobile
accident left Nancy in a persistent vegetative state, those two words have a significant meaning.
The words are etched
in her tombstone in a cemetery just outside of Carterville. They can be interpreted in more than one way. It could be a thank
you to the U. S. Supreme Court, which made it possible for Judge Charles Teel to render the Dec. 12, 1990, decision that ended
what remained of Nancy's life. It could be a thank you for all the people who fought to make those decisions possible...people
like Nancy's parents, Joe and Joyce Cruzan, and her sister, Chris White, the nieces she loved, Angie and Miranda Yocum, or
the attorney, Bill Colby of Kansas City, who fought all the way to Washington, D. C. and back for Nancy's right to die.
Dec. 26, 2000, marked the 10-year anniversary of the end of a saga that began on a county road just outside of Carthage and
ended up gripping the nation.
Nancy Cruzan made the most of the quarter of a century that she "lived." She was vivacious,
outgoing, looking forward to every day. My encounters with her were brief and both came when we were teenagers. When my baseball
team played in Carterville, one of the highlights was the Cruzan sisters, whose laughter and joy of life came across to everyone
they met. I only met her a couple of times, but she made enough of an impression that I, like the others who knew her, was
shocked when she was robbed of her life at such an early age.
On Jan. 11, 1983, Nancy had worked the late shift at Schreiber's
Cheese Plant in Carthage. She was driving east on Elm Road and was only one mile from her home when the accident occurred.
There were no weather conditions that would have explained why she lost control of her car. It ran off the left side of the
road, hit some trees and a mailbox, then swerved back across the road and went off the right side, going through a fence,
overturning several times and coming to rest on its top. She may have fallen asleep, authorities speculated.
By the time
CPR was administered to her, her brain had already been deprived of oxygen for about 14 minutes. About six minutes is all
it takes to cause permanent brain damage. She was left in what doctors called a "persistent vegetative state." The cerebral
hemisphere of her brain, which controlled her thinking and her emotions no longer functioned. All she had left were physical
Nearly five years into that existence between life and death, Joe and Joyce Cruzan asked Judge Teel if they
could remove the feeding tube that was attached to their daughter...the only thing that was keeping Nancy alive. Teel warned
that someone could bring legal charges against them unless they petitioned to have it done legally. The Cruzans filed the
motion in Jasper County Circuit Court and that began the long legal battle. Testimony at the circuit court level was provided
by people who said that Nancy had indicated she would never want to be kept alive by artificial means. She had worked for
a time as the Stapleton Center in Joplin caring for a retarded three-year-old boy who had to be forcefed. During a conversation
with other workers at the center, Nancy indicated if she were in that situation, she would want to have the plug pulled.
granted permission to have the feeding tubes removed, but the decision was appealed by the Missouri Attorney General's office,
which had taken an interest in the case, and it was sent to the Missouri Supreme Court, which overturned Teel's ruling. The
Cruzans and their attorney, Colby, took the case to the United States Supreme Court. It was the first time the Supreme Court
had ever considered a right-to-die case.
The Court ruled that a person does have the right to die, but also indicated
state courts should hear the evidence and determine if Nancy really had indicated what she would want to happen.
brought the case full circle and the eyes of the nation were on Carthage, Mo., that day in October 1990. The courthouse square
was filled with vans from all the Joplin and Springfield stations, plus stations as far away as Kansas City and St. Louis.
Since the case was going to be heard by Judge Teel once more and not by a jury, reporters filled the jury box so they
could get a little closer to the judge, the attorneys and the witnesses. The national media was present, including representatives
of The New York Times, The Associated Press and other metropolitan newspapers.
Three more witnesses were presented who
testified that Nancy had indicated to them she would never want to be kept alive through artificial means if she were left
incapacitated in an accident. One of the witnesses was a man whom she had worked for when she lived in Oklahoma City.
Cruzan family listened attentively as the man began his testimony, clearly answering the questions that were posed to him
by Colby and by Carthage attorney Thad McCanse, who had been appointed by the court to represent "Nancy's interests."
and Joyce Cruzan were seated with Colby. In the row behind them was Nancy's older sister, Christy White, and Christy's two
young daughters, Angie and Miranda Yocum, who at the time were students at Webb City High School. Nancy had loved those two
girls more than she loved anyone else in her life.
Miranda, a ninth grader and a budding artist, had brought along a sketchpad
and was drawing a courtroom scene that matched the efforts being put forth by the two professionals who were seated in the
jury box. Her eye for detail was evident as she sketched Colby perfectly, right down to his suspenders and caught all other
aspects of the courtroom.
As the testimony continued, Nancy's former boss recollected the conversation he had with her,
recalling that she had said she wouldn't want to live as a vegetable because "vegetables can't hug their nieces."
hearing that, Angie, the older niece, began to cry. Miranda's face was also reddening as she put her arm around her sister's
shoulder and began patting her on the back. When the testimony ended and the hearing concluded, Miranda took her sketch to
William Colby and presented it to him. Maybe the first time during the case, the attorney was able to smile. "That's really
good," he said. "That's really good."
Judge Teel took the testimony under advisement and on Dec. 12, 1990, he ordered
the feeding tubes to be removed. In a written statement, Joe Cruzan said, "I suspect hundreds of thousands of people can rest
free, knowing that when death beckons they can meet it face to face with dignity, free from the fear of unwanted and useless
medical treatment." Twelve days later, Nancy Cruzan, whose life ended on that county road nearly eight years earlier, died.
The end did not come peacefully for the Cruzan family as protesters gathered around the Southwest Missouri Rehabilitation
Center in Mount Vernon where Nancy had been a patient for several years. Even though many of the protesters were calling him
a murderer, Joe Cruzan still had sympathy for them. He knew they believed in what they were doing, just as he did. On one
particularly cold night, he took them hot coffee because, as he said, "No one should have to be cold."
Nancy Cruzan died
10 years ago, but her influence is still being felt.
For a time, her sister, Christy ran the Nancy Cruzan Foundation,
helping people who faced similar situations. "I think we have come a long way," she told the Associated Press in 1996. "There
are a lot of caring medical professionals ready to listen to what patients want. I truly believe because of Nan's case there
are a lot of families that won't have to go to court now."
Missouri went from being behind other states in providing patients
the right to control their own destinies to establishing a living will law that makes sure that what the patient wants is
taken into consideration. The public awareness created by the Nancy Cruzan case made it easier for people to put into writing
what they would want to have done for them medically if they should ever be incapacitated.
Missouri also now has a durable
power-of-attorney law, put into effect shortly after Nancy's death, that allows a person to name another person who will make
the life-and-death decision if it needs to be made. The Cruzan case also made a difference on the federal level. The Federal
Patient Self-Determination Act, primarily sponsored by former U. S. Senator John Danforth of Missouri, requires hospital officials
to tell patients about their right to determine in advance what should be done and then requires the hospitals to honor those
Joe Cruzan committed suicide in 1995. His life had never been the same since Nancy's accident. An intensely private
person, he suddenly, against his will, became a celebrity with many sworn enemies who felt he had no right to make a life-and-death
decision for his daughter.
Joyce Cruzan died in 1998. The Christmas holidays will always bring bittersweet memories for
the remaining members of the family. But they do know that Nancy's life, as well as her death, made a difference.
attorney, Bill Colby, was also greatly affected by the case. He took a leave of absence from his law firm to write a book
on the Cruzan case. On the fifth anniversary of Nancy's death, he wrote an op-ed article for The Kansas City Star, in which
he said what he hoped would be the lasting impact of Nancy Cruzan and the court battle that earned her the right to die.
more information we provide while healthy, the more each of us communicates with our loved ones, the greater the chance that
we will empower those loved ones to ask the right questions and make the decisions we would choose at the end of life."
that article, Colby described the call he received from Joe Cruzan the night that Nancy died. "When Joe saw that Nancy was
no longer breathing, he reached up and gently closed her eyelids. As we wound up (our) conversation early that morning, I
asked Joe, 'What are you going to do now?' He replied, 'Well, I guess we are going to go home.' "