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.