By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
"Bill Clinton is the only person in Arkansas without any balls. He would fence-straddle to the extreme, and that created false expectations in some people."
As the sheriff faded into a bad memory, Wayne DuMond was still in prison. The DuMonds organized a campaign to get Governor Clinton to free him. They weren't exactly Marc Rich, but Dusty rounded up friends and family.
"Most of the people I know are blue-collar workers, trying to eke out the best living they can," said DuMond. "How do you take the savings of lower- and middle-class people and persuade some high-powered politician to do something of this nature? When he was running for president, there were people jabbing at him. They were jabbing at him in Ohio, in Florida, in Texas'What are you going to do about Wayne DuMond?' "
Dusty struck pay dirt in Houston, where she was seeking work and living with relatives.
"She interviewed for a job with my husband," Debbie Riddle recalled. "And he asked her her primary goal, and her primary goal was to get her husband out of prison. It was a real shock to us."
Dusty DuMond was hired as a secretary in Mike Riddle's law firm. On October 12, 1991, Jesse Jackson and Bill Clinton came to Houston. The big crowds flocked to Jackson. An active Republican, Debbie Riddle sought out the lesser-known Clinton at a health clinic where he was working a small gathering.
"I went up to him," she recalled, "and said, 'There is a man in your home state, incarcerated, and you put together a pardon committee to look and said you would respond according to their findings. And you didn't. And the young woman allegedly assaulted is related to you.'
"He got very angry. He said, 'He was convicted by a jury of his peers.' I said, 'Yes, without the DNA evidence.' He said, 'That was his defense attorney's fault.' "
Press reports at the time noted that the national reporters on the candidate's campaign trail were befuddled by the encounter, and Clinton's handlers steered him away from Riddle.
And he steered clear of a decision on DuMond.
"Bill Clinton is the only person in Arkansas without any balls," recalled John Wesley Hall, DuMond's attorney during their futile appeals and no enemy of Clinton. "He would fence-straddle to the extreme, and that created false expectations in some people."
Even after the details of Coolidge Conlee's ghoulish behavior surfaced, Clinton didn't abandon his Arkansas cronies. In December 1991, two months after Riddle confronted him, Clinton appointed Regan Hill, the Stevens Funeral Home employee, to the governing body of St. Francis County.
The way DuMond sees it, when Clinton had nothing to lose, why not help his buddies and why not pardon rich and powerful friends? Especially now that he's not only left Arkansas but left D.C.
"What does he care about that?" said DuMond. "He's gone as far as he can go."