Frankie Parker (A Tale of Two Prisoners)

Last month Murray Waas reported that as governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee went out of his way to parole a convicted rapist who then raped and murdered at least one other woman.

While on the campaign trail, Huckabee has claimed that he supported the 1999 release of Wayne Dumond because, at the time, he had no good reason to believe that the man represented a further threat to the public. Thanks to Huckabee’s intervention, conducted in concert with a right-wing tabloid campaign on Dumond’s behalf, Dumond was let out of prison 25 years before his sentence would have ended.

“There’s nothing any of us could ever do,” Huckabee said Sunday on CNN when asked to reflect on the horrific outcome caused by the prisoner’s release. “None of us could’ve predicted what [Dumond] could’ve done when he got out.”

Right; release a convict with 25 years left to serve because, hey, who knows, he might not commit another crime! Ya never know. Let’s just let ’em all out and see what happens!

In 1996, as a newly elected governor who had received strong support from the Christian right, Huckabee was under intense pressure from conservative activists to pardon Dumond or commute his sentence. The activists claimed that Dumond’s initial imprisonment and various other travails were due to the fact that Ashley Stevens, the high school cheerleader he had raped, was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, and the daughter of a major Clinton campaign contributor.

Therefore, he couldn’t possibly be guilty. I guess any girl connected to the Clintons must’ve either lied about being raped or was asking for it.

The case for Dumond’s innocence was championed in Arkansas by Jay Cole, a Baptist minister and radio host who was a close friend of the Huckabee family. It also became a cause for New York Post columnist Steve Dunleavy, who repeatedly argued for Dumond’s release, calling his conviction “a travesty of justice.” On Sept. 21, 1999, Dunleavy wrote a column headlined “Clinton’s Biggest Crime – Left Innocent Man In Jail For 14 Years”:

“Dumond, now 52, was given conditional parole yesterday in Arkansas after having being sentenced to 50 years in jail for the rape of Clinton’s cousin,” Dunleavy wrote. “That rape never happened.”

A subsequent Dunleavy column quoted Huckabee saying: “There is grave doubt to the circumstances of this reported crime.”

In fact, Murray Waas reported, Dumond had assaulted several women (some possibly not connected to the Clintons!), and many of these women wrote to Governor Huckabee begging him not to release Dumond. But Clinton Derangement Syndrome won out, and Dumond was released. Waas says that Huckabee was directly involved in pushing through the parole.

After Dumond’s release from prison in September 1999, he moved to Smithville, Missouri, where he raped and suffocated to death a 39-year-old woman named Carol Sue Shields. Dumond was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for that rape and murder.

But Dumond’s arrest for those crimes in June 2001 came too late for 23-year-old Sara Andrasek of Platte County, Missouri. Dumond allegedly raped and murdered her just one day before his arrest for raping and murdering Shields. Prior to the attack, Andrasek and her husband had learned that she was pregnant with their first child.

Dumond died in prison in 2005, of natural causes, according to Waas.

But then there was Frankie Parker. Frankie Parker was also a prisoner when Mike Huckabee became governor. And Frankie Parker was guilty; no one says otherwise. In 1984, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he killed his former in-laws and held his ex-wife hostage. He was sentenced to be executed, and after years of hearings and appeals and stays, the execution was scheduled for September 17, 1996. Thus, Parker was on death row when Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker was convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy by the Whitewater witch hunters. After Tucker resigned, Huckabee became governor.

What makes Parker’s case unique? One day, while Parker was in solitary confinement, he asked for a Bible. The Bible was the only book prisoners in solitary were allowed to read. A guard–possibly thinking this would be a nice joke– tossed him a copy of the Dhammapada instead. Frankie found Buddhism.

A friend maintains a web site about Frankie Parker. According to this site,

Frankie came to live a simple religious life in a harsh prison environment. He worked daily toward leading a more positive life. From this, Frankie became a peaceful leader on death row. He was sought out by other prisoners for help with spiritual issues. He was an example to all (inside and outside of prison) that life is what you make out of it. By giving Frankie a commutation of life without parole, Frankie, through his example, could have given the death row inmates a glimmer of hope for themselves. Positive change can lead to a quality life even within the prison walls.

In 1993 Frankie saw an article in the local newspaper about the Ecumenical Buddhist Society in Little Rock. He wrote a letter and Anna Cox, the society’s president, began corresponding with Frankie. Soon others were writing him. Frankie kept in close contact by mail with several sangha members for the last few years. His letters were warm, upbeat, encouraging and always contained some teaching relevant to the reader’s life. As an artist, he generously shared his calligraphy and origami flowers, birds, animals, mobiles, etc. with the sangha members. He designed the EBS sweatshirts and T-shirts that were sold by the society. In addition he organized a much larger donation of original works by other prison artists to sell at the EBS auction fund raiser in the fall of 1994.

A Zen priest gave Parker jukai, which is something like confirmation as a Buddhist. Several prominent Tibetan masters visited him. Prominent American Zen teachers, including Philip Kapleau and Robert Aitken, wrote letters on behalf of Parker. According to the New York Times, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa both wrote to Governor Huckabee urging him to commute Parker’s death sentence and let him serve life in prison.

And do you know what the Rev. Mr. Huckabee did? He moved Parker’s execution date from September 17 to August 8 so he would be executed six weeks sooner. And he was.

According to the Venerable Kobutsu Malone, the Zen priest who attended Parker in his last hours,

The greatest blow to our efforts came on July 22nd when we learned that the new Governor, Rev. Huckabee, in a totally unprecedented action, issued a proclamation, his first in office, moving Jusan’s execution date to August 8th! In effect, with his signature, he cut six weeks of Jusan’s life. We were stunned. It was reported that the Governor had met with the family of Frankie’s victims. Jim Harris, a spokesperson from the governor’s office said, “This [date change] was out of consideration for the victim’s family. They’ve waited years and we could determine no reason to delay it more.” [emphasis added]

In other words, Huckabee’s very first proclamation as governor was to execute the Buddhist as soon as possible. Nice. But the serial rapist Dumond (I mean, he was only violating women, right?) could be paroled entirely.

If by some chance Huckabee is the nominee, I want him to explain this.

34 thoughts on “Frankie Parker (A Tale of Two Prisoners)

  1. It’s so bizarre. If he’d let the September date stand that would have been one thing, but to move it up? And it was his very first proclamation as governor? It was like he couldn’t wait to kill the Buddhist. Maybe he worried that Parker would convert other prisoners and lose them for Jesus.

  2. If I may say from a perspective not my own, Buddhism isn’t a real religion, anyhow. If you ain’t prayin’ to Jesus, what makes you think you’re saved?

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  5. What makes you think you need to be saved?

    Quite a bit of presumption for anyone to say what is and what is not a “real” religion.

  6. …and, I might add, no Christian in the generally accepted sense (namely what Jesus actually taught, assuming He existed).

  7. Worship of a fratricidal sky god is a significant investment in an external locus of control. (Karen Armstrong says there is more violence in the Bible than in the Qur’an.) That could mean that there is not so much development of internal locus of control such as affects modulation and impulse control.

    That kind of life and death decision sure reeks of an unconscious impulse acted out in an “as if” authority issue piece. This is one of the main reasons I say nay to capital punishment, even for the mofo multiple rapist described above.

  8. Steve Dunleavy is a crazy effin’ Rupert Murdoch tool. Which makes Huckabee the tool of a Rupert Murdoch tool.

    I don’t know, I’m only guessing, but is Wayne Dumond by chance a white man who claimed to find Jesus in prison?

    Or did Dunleavy want to bear his children because he’d raped a young woman related to Bill Clinton?

  9. ‘Twas the best of execution’s, ’twas the worst of pardon’s…

    These two, mirrored one against the other, are the best reason’s why Huck, “The Schmuck,” shouldn’t come even within sniffing distance of the nomination.
    But I think he’ll win the Rethinglican nomination. Why? He’s everything the Corporatist’s have used and hated, and now can’t stop: God, gun’s and gay’s.
    My fear is that America will look at him like this:
    He’s a likable,
    Stupid fuck.
    It’s Huck,
    “The Schmuck…”

    It’ll be a terrible day
    If with him, we’re stuck…

    Just listen to some in the MSM opine about him. Watch “Cup a’ Schmoe” and see him interviewed EVERY f’n morning by Joe Scarborough.
    If it weren’t for Mika Brzezinski, God, I’m in love with that women (most of the time), Joe’d be reading from the Apostles about why Huck should be President.
    When will the press ask horizonrtal (real life) question’s of this vertical Baptist Minister?

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  11. “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” The Framers wouldn’t have written that if they thought religion was a benign influence anywhere, any time, for any reason, in anybody’s hands.

  12. I read where one of the conditions of Dumond’s parole was that he leave the State of Arkansas upon release. Strange that Huckabee should consider Dumond safe enough to let out of prison, but not safe enough to remain in the state.. So he goes to Missouri to continue his raping and killing? To me that shows some level of inconsistency with respect to Huckabee’s understanding and claims of Dumond’s innocence and his feeble pleading( al la Condi Rice) that nobody could have predicted that Dumond would again do what he was convicted of in the first place…
    Had Dumond been washed in the blood of Jesus through a second wash cycle maybe he wouldn’t have raped and murdered again.

    Oh…Did anybody notice that Dumond had ears like a chimpanzee?

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  14. Swami, the final paragraph: “The fact remains that Governor Huckabee didn’t commutate, pardon, parole or grant any form of clemency to Wayne DuMond.”

    Is this parseable as a true statement?

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  16. What is even more scary and NO ONE IS pushing for this information which I think could wreck his chances …
    There are no records to be found of his preaching years.
    No sermons, one one talks about what kind of minister he was.
    I think if he is going to use his religion, the fact that he was a minister and is religious, then we need to know what kind of ministering he was doing then I want to hear what he preached.
    I want to know why this info is nowhere to be found!!

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  18. Diane, I found some more about that. I think this may be the best quote I’ve ever seen to explain how Mike Huckabee understands Christianity:

    Interestingly enough, if there was ever an occasion for someone to have argued against the death penalty, I think Jesus could have done so on the cross and said, “This is an unjust punishment and I deserve clemency.”

    Can anything more be said?

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