Kin against clemency
JOHN HOFHEIMER -
Leader staff writer
Helen Spencer was killed 30 years ago. Her family doesn't want the governor
to free her killer, while area prosecutors propose more accountability
from the governor in the commutation process. [FULL
Former cop rips pardon
By JOHN HOFHEIMER
AND RICK KRON
However Helen Spencer died, her murderer should spend the rest of his
life in prison for his brutal acts. [FULL
parole a monster like Green?
Huckabee probably never read the confession of a demented killer named
Glen Green before he made the monster eligible for parole.
confession is so depraved, its sadistic details so scary that no sane,
responsible adult would consider him for parole.
If the governor didn't read the confession, he is guilty of dereliction
But if he read the confession and still considers Green deserving of
parole, he's certainly unfit to hold office. Who would free a madman
who beat an 18-year-old woman with Chinese martial-arts sticks, raped
her as she barely clung to life, ran over her with his car, then dumped
her in the bayou, her hand reaching up, as if begging for mercy?
the gruesome picture of Green's victim on the front page because we
believe her hand is reaching up to demand justice.
In usual fashion, Huckabee's office didn't even contact the victim's
family about the clemency.
Although he's required to by the Constitution, the governor, as is his
custom, won't say why he granted clemency to this crazed killer (over
the unanimous objections of the Post-Prison Transfer Board).
Huckabee apparently listened to Green's minister (and a friend of the
governor), who thinks the murder was an accident and Green was forced
The Jacksonville police, who arrested Green in 1974 after a witness
linked him to the crime, think the minister and Huckabee are both delusional,
which is the mildest epitaph we can print.
This old police reporter knows a genuine confession when he sees one,
and Green's depravity has the ring of truth.
Green, a 22-year-old sergeant, kidnapped Helen Lynette Spencer on Little
Rock Air Force Base, where he beat and kicked her as he tried to rape
her in a secluded area. She broke loose and ran toward the barracks'
parking lot, where he caught up with her and beat her with a pair of
He then stuffed her into the trunk of his car and left her there while
he cleaned up. Several hours later, he drove down Graham Road, past
Loop Road and stopped near a bridge in Lonoke County. Green told investigators
he put her body in the front seat and raped her because her body was
He dragged Spencer out of his vehicle and put her in front of the car
and ran over her several times, going back and forth. He then collected
himself long enough to dump her body in Twin Prairie Bayou.
This is what the Rev. Johnny Jackson, interim pastor at Bethel Baptist
Church in Jacksonville, calls an accident, and apparently Huckabee believes
"There is no doubt in my mind that he could kill again," warns
Pulaski County Prosecutor Larry Jegley.
The crime started out in his jurisdiction and ended in Lonoke County,
where Prosecutor Lona McCastlain has also spoken out against the clemency.
"Life means life," she said, referring to Green's sentence
after he plead guilty to Spencer's kidnapping, rape and murder.
As he grants clemency to scores of violent criminals, Huckabee's motives
are the subject of speculation: Why, people are asking, is he doing
it? After studying the record for several weeks, all one can say is
that his actions perhaps reflect a combination of arrogance and avarice
While his fellow governors keep electing him to top positions in their
little club, he has alienated Arkansans of both parties. They're shocked
at not only the amazing number of clemencies but also at the way he
ignores the suffering of the victims' families, who are always the last
to know when their loved one's killer is up for parole.
Bilenda Harris-Ritter, an attorney who now lives in California, is one
of those people who worry all the time that Huckabee might free the
man who killed their relatives. Harris-Ritter's parents were murdered
in north Arkansas, and she has had to deal with heartless state bureaucrats
as she fights to keep the killer locked up.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently named Harris-Ritter chairman of
the Public Employees Board, which oversees collective-bargaining agreements
among 7,000 employers and 2 million employees.
She is upset that our governor has not been more forthright about his
"Huckabee is required by law to make certain notifications. When
he does not, the pardon should be voidable," she told us.
She continued, "The people of the good state of Arkansas (and I
really mean that) need to think seriously about impeachment."
When told that many people consider Huckabee our worst governor in recent
memory, Harris-Ritter replied, "No argument from me, and I am a
Governor sets record for clemencies
Huckabee is on a roll: He has freed more convicts than all of his recent
predecessors combined more than 10 times as many as Gov. Clinton
during a 10-year period from 1983 to 1992. [FULL
goes own way on pardons
across Arkansas have had their differences with Gov. Huckabee's generous
pardons policy, but what bothers them the most is Huckabee's superior
attitude when they dare to object. [FULL
seek more openness on pardons
you talk to prosecutors around the state, many of them will tell you they're
unhappy that Gov. Huckabee pardons criminals without letting law-enforcement
officials or victims' families know why he's doing it, as he's required
by law. [FULL
prosecutors go on offensive
trade jabs over sentencing, pardoning of killers, other thugs
prosecutors around the state are upset with Gov. Huckabee for grant- ing
clemency to violent criminals, but he is blaming the prosecutors for often
not seeking the maximum penalty and keeping felons locked up longer.
B.B. goes home then to funeral
King didn't seem his usual old self last weekend when he was performing
in his hometown of Indianola, Miss.
___ He put on two fine shows in one evening,
but he seemed a bit distracted. [FULL
Clintons in lovefest with Bush
there's anything more unappealing than watching politicians mud wrestle,
it's watching them pretend they like each other.
insincerity, Presi-dent Bush praised his predecessor on Monday during
an unveiling of the Clintons' official (and utterly mediocre) White House
World-class blues played near here
couple of great blues musicians showed up at Sticky Fingerz in Little
Rock on Thursday night.
___ Michael Burks, probably Arkansas' most
talented young bluesman, dropped in to catch Deborah Coleman and her band
and he was impressed. [FULL
Reagan had won in '76
of words and thousands of images have filled newspapers and television
screens since the passing of Ronald Reagan on Saturday.
colleagues, politicians and scholars have discussed every facet of his
remarkable life: How he started out poor, became a Holly-wood star, found
a second career on television, then a third as a corporate spokesman,
and yet another, more spectacular career as a politician.
His life has been thoroughly examined this week, but one crucial period
and its consequences are virtually overlooked: His losing out to President
Ford for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1976, which,
it could be argued, helped the Soviets stay in power for several more
These Vets couldn't go to unveiling
Albert Jonikas couldn't make it to the dedication of the World War II
memorial over the weekend.
an 84-year-old veteran of the Second World War who saw action in the Pacific
- Iwo Jima, Saipan, Okinawa, which was near where the Japanese surrendered
- but he doesn't get around much anymore. [FULL