The Springfield News-Leader from Springfield, Missouri on September 9, 1990 · Page 1
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The Springfield News-Leader from Springfield, Missouri · Page 1

Springfield, Missouri
Issue Date:
Sunday, September 9, 1990
Page 1
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sns XfUKJ A Gannett Newspaper x . . w j Johnny Lee Wilson By Ron Davis The News-Leader If Pauline Martz were alive today, friends say she'd be saddened. Saddened by the hate, the allegations and the national attention focused on her hometown of Aurora, where she tended her beloved roses. Pauline Martz died 414 years ago, the victim of a savagery loosed one night in her home. Her death is part of the reason for the turmoil. On April 13, 1986, someone beat Martz, tied her arms and legs, stuffed a gag in her mouth and set fire to her corner-lot stucco house. Five days later, Johnny Lee Wilson a 20-year-old retarded man Martz knew well confessed to the slaying. Aurora was stunned; Wilson had no criminal record. But he pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for life. Aurora seemed to settle back into normalcy, a city of 6,400 residents who boast of school, church and clean living a place to raise a family, not a fuss. Then Kansas prison inmate Chris Brownfield said he killed Martz. Wilson changed his story and said he was innocent. Two Lawrence County men stepped forward and vowed not to rest until "that poor, retarded boy" came home. The case has since been transformed into a saga of alleged conspiracies and vendettas aired on national television. Wilson's supporters call the authorities liars engaged in a cover-up. The authorities say Wilson's supporters care only about taking political control of Lawrence County and making a buck off a retarded man by selling his story. Each side rejects the other's allegations. Lawrence County sheriffs Lt. Doug Seneker: "There have been a zillion people I've sent away (to prison) that made up their mind they didn't like it once they got up there. This is the most vocal appeal process I've gone through, but it certainly isn't the first one. It'll pass like all the rest of them." Aurora real estate agent Dean Rodgers, one of the founders of the "Free Wilson" movement: "This is the first time I ever completely gave of myself to help someone else. When I get up and shave in the morning, I can look myself in the mirror and know I'm doing the Please see AURORAPage 10A r 1 J f "i I N -J fmmmt ;n yii mj wyutwu.iw muto;,pi 'i h. iu.i f n n V tt, SS Tu,sa's Giden Hurri" cane b0WS away SMg. ie NewsLe The murder of an Aurora woman 4Vi years ago appeared to be an open-and-shut case. Today, national TV shows consider it an unsolved mystery. But is it? Dan DyerThe News-Leader Springfield lawyer Dee Wampler portrayed him- episode about the murder case scheduled to air by self during the filming of an "Unsolved Mysteries" year's end. Brownfield's crime confession not credible, investigator says By Ron Davis The News-Leader Chris Brownfield's claim that he and not Johnny Lee Wilson killed Pauline Martz is filled with inconsistencies and can't be considered credible, according to a Missouri attorney general's report obtained by The News-Leader. The 430-page report which has never been made public was drafted early last year, after about six months of work by attorney general's investigator Jack Ruffel. He was assigned the case after some Lawrence County residents said Brownfield's confession to killing Martz proved Wilson was innocent. Brownfield, now 33, is in a Kansas prison, serving a life sentence for aiding and abetting first-degree murder, a charge stemming from the April 1986 robbery and shooting of a Pittsburg, Kan., couple. Ruffel investigated Brownfield's GAS PRICE WATCH A look at per-gallon prices of unleaded gasoline at a sampling of Springfield stations: f LOCATION 12:30-1:30 Ozarks Petroleum, 401 S. Kimbrough $1.18.9 $1.18.9 U-Pump It, 404 E. Central . $1.18 9 $1.18 9 Git-N-Go, 2808 S. Campbell Ave. $1.19 9 $1.19 9 Vickers, 2101 S. Glenstone $1.199 $1.199 THE NEIV U.S. OPEN: NEW VIEW: SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI, SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1990 gr:y : . '.. many confessions to Martz's slaying but did not examine Wilson's role in the crime. Wilson refused to talk with Ruffel. Wilson's supporters applauded when Ruffel began investigating the case, but their delight turned to disgust when they learned of the report's contents. The document was given to Lawrence County authorities in 1989, in time for Wilson's hearing to set aside his guilty plea. Then-defense attorney Dee Wampler kept it from being introduced as evidence; the Springfield lawyer said its contents would hurt his client's chances for victory. Wilson's current attorney, St. Louis public defender Bill Swift, will argue in appellate court in Springfield this week that Brownfield's confession casts doubt on Wilson's guilt. Highlights of the 2'i-inch-thick report: Brownfield's confession that he and another man killed Pau p.m. Friday 3-4 p.m. Saturday $1,19 9 $1.19.9 FALL TV SHOWS IF Sabatini beats Graf Check out the new Chris Brownfield line Martz. In an 18-page summary, Ruffel lists seven points that he says discredit Brownfield's confession to the slaying: Brownfield said he kicked open the back door to Martz's home. State Fire Marshal Bill Zieres says there was no evidence of forced entry at the door. Brownfield said a young girl at the nearby high-school track saw him walk up to Martz's home. Melanie Houser who was interviewed by CBS reporter Connie Chung said she saw a 1970 pine-green car with a white vinyl top parked near Martz's house. Brownfield said he was driving a solid blue 1978 Olds Toronado. Brownfield said Martz was at home when he and a partner arrived between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Two people saw Martz driving her car between 6:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. One woman said Martz left her Please see REPORTPage 10A J 7 T ' 1 Sunny Mostly sunny. High in low 90s. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Low in the upper 60s. in women's finalsID look of our TV guidebookTV VIEW SIC tin LaaD mam) tteDDs If traiD Ex-Ozarker spends 33 days seeking freedom in Kuwait By Michelle Beth Katzenell The News-Leader Edward Johnson's four-day business trip to Kuwait turned into a 33-day nightmare. He became one of the thousands of Americans who were labeled hostages soon after Iraq's invasion. "I got caught there at the wrong time," he said calmly Saturday as he sat in the lobby of the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield. Johnson, 62, grew up in Springfield and moved to St. Louis after he graduated from college. His mother and a son live here. This weekend he was back in Springfield recounting for family and friends his experiences in Iraqi-occupied Kuwait. The Fasco Industries vice president arrived in Kuwait July 31 to sell electric motors for air condi Saddam makes appeal to Soviets Rejoin Arab angels, statement pleads Los Angeles Times BAGHDAD, Iraq In an urgent summit-eve appeal to his old allies in the Soviet Union, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Saturday called on President Mikhail S. Gorbachev to redeem his nation's status as a superpower by joining "the permanent angels" of the Arab world in a sacred struggle against "the devils" of America and the West. Hussein's llth-hour plea, which was delivered in writing to the Soviet leaderv and broadcast on Iraqi television late Saturday, offered no new initiatives and repeated most of Hussein's recent rhetoric on the issues of Kuwait, Islam and "U.S. intervention" in the Persian Gulf. Also Saturday, Saddam urged Presidents Bush and Gorbachev to take a hands-off approach to the Persian Gulf crisis and let the Arab world settle the matter. Saddam, in a statement read by Leaders hope summit leads to cooperation By David Espo The Associated Press HELSINKI, Finland - President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev arrived Saturday for summit talks spawned by the Persian Gulf crisis. Bush said he hoped for common ground against Iraq that would usher in a "more peaceful, stable and secure" post-Cold War era. Gorbachev said it was important for the two men to cooperate to protect "positive trends" taking place elsewhere in the world. The five-hour summit held out the prospect of an extraordinary joint declaration against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Also on the agenda for the hastily arranged meeting were sticky arms control disputes, the fu- Below 20 11 (2 Chance ot showers jj Today's weather, Page 2A. $1.25 1 .HV! mJw "TIWJ W',R? V tioners, but on Aug. 2 he was awakened by an alarming phone call. "At 6:30 a.m., I got a call from my sponsor ... and he said there was trouble in Kuwait and just hung up, so I didn't know what was going on. "I went downstairs about 7:15. Most people were in the lobby and there were about 50 tanks coming down the gulf highway going south toward Saudi Arabia. They had already done quite a bit of damage downtown. There was a lot of tank fire. "And then we had about 50 helicopters go over and I saw two of them shot down by the Kuwaitis." Johnson was held in a luxury hotel until Aug. 17, when he was Please see ORDEALPage 14A Saddam won't throw first purich11A Iraq cuts off chartered flights1 4A i an announcer on Iraqi television and billed as an open message to the U.S. and Soviet leaders, told them: "I am not saying to either of you ... what your decision should be." But he said Bush and Gorbachev should bear in mind that "Iraq's army did not invade either of your countries." Bush's National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft suggested that the prospect of U.S.-Soviet unity on the Persian Gulf has Saddam worried. "We hope it causes him to lose some sleep," Scowcroft told reporters. Arms talks take back seat to gulf1 3 A U.S. may trade know-how for oil1 3 A Bush won't push for more help5B ture of Europe and other traditional East-West concerns as well as possible aid to the Soviet Union. In Saudi Arabia, a diplomatic source said Gorbachev came to Helsinki prepared to offer the Soviet maritime fleet to the United States to transport equipment to the Middle East and to withdraw the roughly 1,000 Soviet advisers from Iraq. Inside today Accent1 F Classified4E Crossword2F Dear Abby2F Deaths2B Home1C Horoscope2F lnsight5B Livestock2E MarketsIE ' Movie clock10F Opinion6B Ozarks1B Real Estate3C Sports1 D Time off8D Weddings3F World2A Vol. 100, No. 252, ' 1990, The News-Leader - 7 ' .. "v"' i i i .0

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