Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Kehoe's jailmates from Lebanon can testify in Ark. trial




BY PEGGY HARRIS
The Associated Press

        LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The judge in the murder trial of Chevie Kehoe said Monday he will allow limited testimony from three Ohio prisoners who say a prosecution witness told them he gave false information to investigators.

        U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Eisele said he would allow testimony from prisoners James Harrison, Deono Giergedis and Robert Taylor about certain comments Cheyne Kehoe made to them while they were all at the Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon.

        Cheyne Kehoe is the brother of Chevie Kehoe of Colville, Wash., who is on trial on racketeering, conspiracy and murder charges, along with Danny Lee of Yukon, Okla.

        After the three prisoners testify today, the defense is expected to rest. Closing arguments will be Thursday. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

        Cheyne Kehoe, an unindicted co-conspirator in the indictment, has testified for the prosecution that his brother and Mr. Lee killed Tilly gun dealer William Mueller, Mr. Mueller's wife, Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell, in January 1996.

        The prosecution alleges Chevie Kehoe and Mr. Lee conspired to overthrow the federal government and set up a whites-only nation in the Pacific Northwest, resorting to robberies, the bombing of the Spokane City Hall in Washington, and murders to carry out their plan.

        The Kehoe brothers engaged in a shootout with Wilmington, Ohio police in 1997 that was captured on a police video camera and broadcast nationally. Cheyne Kehoe was convicted in Ohio and sentenced to prison, where he allegedly met Messrs. Harrison, Giergedis and Taylor. Chevie Kehoe pleaded guilty and is to be sentenced after his trial in Arkansas.

        Monday, Judge Eisele heard testimony from the three Ohio prisoners out of the earshot of jurors. Mark Hampton, a lawyer for Chevie Kehoe, said he only recently learned about what the three prisoners had to say about Cheyne Kehoe.

        Mr. Harrison said Cheyne Kehoe told him of committing crimes he blamed on his brother, and said he gave investigators information implicating Chevie Kehoe. “He (Cheyne) made statements to the effect he was playing the feds like a puppet on a string,” Mr. Harrison said.

        Mr. Giergedis said Cheyne Kehoe told him he participated in the murders of the Mueller family, putting bags over their heads, but told federal investigators a different story.

       



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