The planned prosecution of twenty-two Black Panthers and activists by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Division included one man with a mystery role, Raleigh House. The planned prosecution of the Midwest 22 was revealed April 7, 2014, by the disclosure of an old ATF case progress note to the Justice Department closing the conspiracy case after United States Attorney Richard Dier refused to prosecute. This previously unknown ATF investigation came to light when a court researcher found the case note buried in a file.
Raleigh House was the treasurer of the National Committee to Combat Fascism in Omaha during August 1970 and could often be seen toting a camera to events and meetings. House is also the supplier of the dynamite that killed Patrolman Larry Minard, Sr. that month, according to another Midwest 22 conspiracy suspect, teen bomber Duane Peak. Peak accused House, Ed Poindexter, and Mondo we Langa (then David Rice) of participation in the bomb plot.
Duane Peak testified twice, at his preliminary hearing and at trial, that Raleigh House supplied the dynamite for the bomb. However, House only spent one night in jail on a suspicion charge before he was released on his own signature bond. House was never charged for possession or delivery of the explosives.
Peak said a week prior to the bombing, he and Ed Poindexter got into Raleigh House’s automobile and Raleigh drove them to Mondo we Langa’s residence. Poindexter allegedly exited the vehicle while Peak continued on with House to pick up the dynamite. Peak said he waited in the car while House went inside.
Peak said, “Rollie came from behind the house with a suitcase. He brought it out to the car and put it in the back seat.” The two allegedly then drove back to Mondo’s home with the suitcase full of dynamite. “Rollie instructed me to take the suitcase over to the back door of David’s house.” Once inside the suitcase was opened revealing the dynamite testified Peak.
Peak gave a slightly different version earlier in September 1970 when he said that House came out of the residence rather than from behind the home. In his first sworn statement, at a deposition in August 1970, Peak did not mention House at all.
Retired ATF agent James Moore offered yet another version of the dynamite delivery in his book Very Special Agents. However, Moore’s version is suspect as he falsely states Duane Peak was eighteen instead of fifteen and also claims the bomb was made of eight sticks of dynamite rather than three as Peak testified.
Moore wrote: “Panthers Ed Poindexter, Raleigh House and Duane Peak carried a Samsonite suitcase into David Rice’s home….Four nights later, the same four men sat drinking beer at the Legion Club.” Moore’s account of House being at the Legion Club conflicts with trial testimony as does the assertion that Mondo we Langa (David Rice) was present. Moore claimed in his book he got his information from ATF case files and talking to ATF agents Tom Sledge and Dwight Thomas.
Raleigh House testified at the trial of the Omaha Two, Poindexter and Mondo, who were convicted of Larry Minard’s murder. House was a witness for the defense and only was asked one indirect question about the dynamite.
Defense attorney Tom Kenny asked House, “Do you recall any time in the month of August of last year taking Duane Peak up to your house, picking up a suitcase and delivering the suitcase and Duane Peak to David Rice’s house?”
Raleigh House answered, “No.” That would turn out to be the only question House ever had to answer about Duane Peak’s allegations that House supplied the dynamite for the bomb.
Ed Poindexter denies he received any dynamite from Raleigh House at any time. Nonetheless, the question is glaring. Why did the prosecution believe Duane Peak about Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa and not about Raleigh House? Could the awful truth be that an informant, possibly a paid informant, supplied the dynamite that killed Larry Minard?
House testified that upon his arrest on suspicion charges, he was fingerprinted but not tested with hand swabs or fingernail scrapings. On cross-examination, prosecutor Arthur O’Leary gave House kid glove treatment and did not ask again about the dynamite allegations instead focusing on House’s knowledge of the group newsletter.
A retired Omaha police lieutenant, James Perry, also named Raleigh House as someone who should have been prosecuted. On September 5, 2002, Perry granted an interview with private detective Thomas Gorgen. Perry told Gorgen that several others were involved and he sought their prosecution.
Perry said: “You know there’s a lot of guys, the Raleigh House and Ernie Chambers and oh what is that other guy’s name, a couple other guys all friends and some white gal and that whole bunch of them….And I talked to Sam Cooper, I wanted him to charge them all.”
Perry’s targeting of Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers casts doubt on the veracity of his statement. When U. S. District Judge Warren Urbom questioned Perry at an appeal hearing, Judge Urbom concluded that Perry’s testimony was not credible.
Raleigh House got around and was centerpiece in one dramatic front-page Omaha World-Herald photo coming out of the old Omaha police station, camera around neck, amidst several shotgun toting Black Panthers waiting outside the door.
Raleigh House’s name came up in at a hearing of the House Committee on Internal Security in October 1970 in Washington, D.C., where Captain Murdock Platner of the Omaha police acknowledged being aware of House’s activities.
The Omaha Police Department, ATF, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had informants inside the Black Panthers and NCCF. The FBI counterintelligence reports under COINTELPRO suggest at least one informant was well placed in the group. Raleigh House’s get-out-of-jail card gives rise to suspicion that House was somebody’s informant.
During his single night in jail before being released by Deputy County Attorney Arthur O’Leary, House got his one phone call. According to a police report, House called his wife and instructed her to call Black Panther headquarters in Oakland, California.
Raleigh House never did have to account for the dynamite Duane Peak said was used to kill a policeman. Douglas County Attorney Donald Knowles never sought charges against House. When United States Attorney Richard Dier decided not to prosecute the Midwest 22, House was free once again without having to answer for the dynamite he was said to have delivered.
For further information see Midwest 22
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