Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Incompetent: Governor Mike Huckabee

Meet Wayne Dumond, who remains largely unknown to Republican primary voters. Dumond, however, is well-known to Arkansans, and the grieving families of Ashley Stevens and Carol Shields.

In 1972, Dumond was arrested in the beating death of an Oklahoma man, but not charged. The following year, he was arrested for sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Oregon, and placed on probation. In 1976 he was arrested for raping an Arkansas woman, but the case did not proceed to trial because the woman, in fear, did not press charges. In August, 1985 Dumond raped 17-year-old Ashley Stevens, a cheerleader from Forrest City, Arkansas. A jury sentenced Dumond to life plus 20 years in prison.

On August 29, 1996 the Arkansas Parole Board denied Dumond parole by a vote of 4-1. Two months later on October 31, 1996 then-Governor Mike Huckabee met with the Board in Executive Session, an apparent violation of the Arkansas open meetings law, and urged them to release Dumond because he believed DNA evidence exonerated him.

“The governor commented that Wayne Dumond had received, from his perspective, a raw deal, that he was someone from the wrong side of the tracks ... and that he had received what he thought was too long a sentence for that type of crime,” said Board member Dr. Charles Chastain, who was present.

On January 17, 1997, the Board reversed itself and voted 4-1 to parole Dumond. Gov. Huckabee released a statement in full support of the vote: “I concur with the board’s action and hope the lives of all those involved can move forward."

In addition, Huckabee wrote Dumond directly. In a "Dear Wayne" letter Huckabee asserted, "My desire is that you be released from prison. I feel now that parole is the best way for your reintegration into society." Dumond was paroled in October, 1999.

On September 20, 2000 Dumond sexually assaulted and murdered 39-year-old Carol Shields of Parkville, Missouri in her apartment. Police discovered Dumond's DNA under the victim's fingernails. He was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Larry Harman after a six-day trial. Dumond called Harman's sentence "ludicrous, nonsensical, stupid and ignorant." He died in prison two years ago.

These facts, in great disturbing detail, have been meticulously documented by the Arkansas Times, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, National Review and other publications. All it takes is a "Wayne Dumond" Google to find one sordid development after another, as well as Huckabee's lies and his Hope, Arkansas Clintonesque bumbling explanations.

Yet, here Mike Huckabee sits atop the latest Iowa Caucus polls.

Republicans seemingly enjoy his flippant and superficial one-liners in response to serious public policy questions. Religious conservatives are in a fog of indifference regarding any issue outside Huckabee's opposition to abortion and gay marriage. The mainstream media have not challenged his failed Arkansas record, and neither have his competitors because he was thought to be a mere nuisance candidate with no money. That will change. Very soon.

Mike Huckabee should be a joke of a presidential candidate based solely upon his incompetent coddling of a rapist and murderer like Wayne Dumond. There is no excuse, no rationalization, no legitimate reason in defense of Huckabee's determination to free Dumond. Absolutely none. He has the blood of Carol Shields on his hands. Figuratively. But it's still blood.