The Castration of Wayne DuMond
As Wayne DuMond listened last week to billionaire fugitive Marc Rich's explanation that Bill Clinton pardoned him for "humanitarian" reasons, he couldn't help but darkly snicker.
DuMond had been accused of raping a Clinton cousin in 1984 and was hog-tied and castrated before he even went to trial.
He used to be enraged about it, especially when the cracker sheriff, who was a pal of the rape victim's father, scooped up DuMond's balls, put them in a jar, and showed them off.
"They were mine. Those were my testicles," DuMond told a sickened courtroom in 1988. "He didn't have no right to take them and he didn't have no right to show them around and he didn't have no right to flush them down the toilet."
This is yet another Clinton saga of genitalia that fell into the wrong hands.
The rape victim's daddy, mortician Walter E. "Stevie" Stevens, was part of a Democratic machine that ruled the Arkansas Delta and nurtured Clinton's career.
Wayne DuMond, guilty or innocent, didn't have a chance at justice.
As Clinton was abandoning Arkansas for national politics, he stymied DuMond's release from prison, ignoring the judgment of his own parole board in June 1990 that DuMond's continued incarceration was a "miscarriage of justice."
It's the word humanitarian that makes Wayne DuMond, now in his early fifties, chuckle a little. He knows it's all politics.
"In the eleventh hourthe eleventh hour and 59th minute," DuMond told the Voice in an interview last week, "Clinton capitalized by gaining monetarily from exercising the duties of his office in a perverted kind of way."
Clinton argues that years ago prosecutor Rudy Giuliani unfairly hounded Marc Rich. Has Clinton forgotten about the torment that his old Arkansas ally, Sheriff Coolidge Conlee, perpetrated on Wayne DuMond?
Or, for that matter, what Clinton himself did?
As Clinton was vying for the presidency, he sat on the parole board's DuMond clemency recommendation. Insisting that he wanted to wait until the appeals process was complete (the opposite tack he took in the Rich case), Clinton met with Stevie Stevens and powerful state representative Pat Flanagin (whose sister used to shoot craps with Conlee in the sheriff's office) and convinced the board to reconsider its recommendation.
In late 1991, on the campaign trail, Clinton began to be pestered about the DuMond case. Recusing himself, in April Clinton turned over the matter to his lieutenant governor, Jim Guy Tucker. Unlike Clinton, Tucker read every word of DuMond's voluminous file, a DuMond lawyer told the Voice. Tucker promptly reduced DuMond's sentence, making him eligible for parole. Seven years later Republican governor Mike Huckabee signed DuMond's release papers.
Releasing Wayne DuMond earlier would have been a tough call, but many people were willing to show the decorated Vietnam veteran mercy, despite his admitted bad pastbooze, drugs, mayhem. DuMond has told the tale of how he helped slaughter a village of Cambodians. Later, stationed in Oklahoma, he was charged with participating in the claw-hammer murder of a fellow soldier. Turning state's evidence, he insisted that he merely stood by and watched. In Tacoma, Washington, he accosted a teenage girl, an incident that led to five years of probation.
"Yeah," DuMond conceded in his Voice interview, "but what's that got to do with anything? That had nothing to do with the alleged case against me in Forrest City."
Governor Clinton ignored pleas on behalf of DuMond at the same time that he was ignoring pleas on behalf of Rickey Ray Rector.
In early 1992, when the Gennifer Flowers story broke, Clinton interrupted his presidential campaign to stoke his stance as the one Democrat who would lock up and kill criminals. He flew back to Arkansas from New Hampshire so he could be standing on state soil while the convict was put down. It didn't matter to him that Rector had shot himself in the head immediately after the murder, in effect giving himself a lobotomy that left him without the power of reason.
Clinton recently noted the persuasive power of his former counsel Jack Quinn's last-minute phone call on behalf of Marc Rich. But in early 1992, Clinton dismissed a similar last-minute phone appeal from Rector's attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, a Clinton friend since boyhood. Strapped down, the brain-damaged Rector screamed for 50 minutes while the executioners dug into his arm before finding a vein in which to shoot the poison.
DuMond thinks Clinton's rejection of his own bid for humanitarian handling was just as cynical, although it did have the personal element. "It would have been politically incorrect on both fronts," said DuMond, "the stand he had already taken about crime and being, maybe not a player in my case, but certainly in the background as a relative."
Many of the details of DuMond's life, and how it intersected with Clinton's reign as Arkansas governor, are laid out in the 1993 book Unequal Justice by Guy Reel, a mainstream reporter for The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Given his past in the army, Reel writes, DuMond was hardly the most sympathetic character when he crossed paths with Clinton's relatives in late 1984 in Forrest City (named after Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest). He was an anonymous handyman, married with kids. One day, the daughter of prominent mortician Stevie Stevens saw DuMond driving down the road in his pickup. She identified him as the man who had raped her 45 days earlier.
That introduced DuMond to Sheriff Coolidge Conlee, a notorious gambler, bootlegger, dope dealer, and racketeer. He was so corrupt that, as it was later revealed in court, he even used crooked dice to shoot craps against his own deputies. Even as he threw dice in the sheriff's office, Reel writes, he was busting black-run gambling houses, except the ones that paid off his chief deputy, Sambo Hughes.
In early March 1985, with Wayne awaiting trial, his wife, Dusty, wrote a letter to a local newspaper defending her husband and blasting Sheriff Conlee.
Only days later, Wayne DuMond was sitting at home, drunk, when two men broke in, hog-tied him, and made him give one of them a blowjob"just like you made her do," the perp snarled. Then they castrated him with a knife.
One of them, DuMond later said, chortled, "Mr. C would be proud." They left him to be discovered by his children.
Sheriff Conlee strolled into the DuMond home a few hours later. By his own court testimony, related in Reel's book, Conlee scooped up DuMond's testicles from the evidence scene and put them in a matchbox. He drove home, dumped the balls into a fruit jar, and then sped over to Stevens's funeral home. There, Stevens and funeral home employee Regan Hill were waiting. Hill poured formaldehyde over DuMond's balls. Clinton's cousin Stevens recounted later in a deposition that the sheriff said to him, "Here are DuMond's testicles. Do you want to see them?" Stevens, continuing his testimony, recalled, "Of course, they are looking at me, so that was it."
Over the next few days, Sheriff Conlee proudly showed the jar of DuMond's balls to several people. Eventually, he flushed them down a toilet.
No one was arrested for castrating Wayne DuMond. But after he was convicted of the rape, DuMond sued Conlee and St. Francis County in federal court for humiliating the DuMond clan by displaying the balls. He won a judgment of $110,000.
It was during that trial that DuMond angrily talked about "my testicles." Dusty DuMond, who stood strongly behind her husband, told the court, "When we found out the sheriff had his testicles in a jar, we felt that maybe the sheriff would put my breast in a jar. We didn't know what he would plan next, so that was one of the things that made us decide to go into hiding."
While waiting for Wayne's rape trial, they fled Forrest City. After they left, somebody burned down their house, another crime for which no one was charged.
DuMond's chances at his trial were hopeless. There would be no change of venue. The prosecutors were Clinton ally Gene Raff and his top local aide, Fletcher Long, who was also Sheriff Conlee's personal attorney. Raff and Long were old college frat brothers of Stevie Stevens. The sheriff himself was the courtroom bailiff.
No evidence linked DuMond to the teenager's abduction, forced submission to oral sex, and brief penetration. In the primitive blood-semen testing that had been done (DuMond's lawyer said a more expensive DNA test wasn't needed), DuMond's semen, as a match to a spot on the teen's jeans, couldn't be ruled out. (A DNA expert later testified in one of DuMond's numerous appeals that the spot did not match.) The judge wouldn't delay the trial for a single day so the defense could bring in its own witness. The teen had said her attacker had blue eyes; DuMond's are hazel. But she insisted (and still insists) that DuMond did it. It was her word against his. DuMond's trial lawyer never brought up her previous identification of someone else as her attacker.
DuMond was convicted and sent to prison. He got out on parole in October 1999. Now he lives in a small Missouri town outside of Kansas City. Dusty didn't live to see it; she died from injuries in a Christmas Eve 1998 car crash on her way to visit relatives in Ohio.
The pain of all those events seems to have left Wayne DuMond. He sees his torment as a political act.
"As to the reasons," he told the Voice, "there's never been but one: money. My wife and I were actively campaigning against the sheriff. We were being mouthy toward him in the wrong direction, you might say."
In 1986, Sheriff Conlee lost a bid for reelection. A couple of years later, he was put on trial for racketeering and other felonies. Several pals turned against him, including deputy Sambo Hughes, who tearfully testified about the routine extortion of black-owned nightclubs. Conlee was convicted and died in prison.
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."
Who Will Succeed Jesse Jackson? by Nat Hentoff
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