Great Falls Tribune from Great Falls, Montana on April 5, 1987 · Page 3
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Great Falls Tribune from Great Falls, Montana · Page 3

Great Falls, Montana
Issue Date:
Sunday, April 5, 1987
Page 3
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Presence in Persian Gulf to grow Sunday, April s, 1 987 Great Falls Tribune 3A New York Times News Service WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger has or-dered the Navy to Increase its presence near the Persian Gulf in an effort to fulfill President Reagan's pledge to keep oil flowing to allies in Europe and Japan, Pentagon officials said Saturday. The officials said the Navy would maintain the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk on station in the Arabian Sea and the rest of the Indian Ocean until May, three months longer than planned, and would then have a carrier battle group of six to eight warships sailing there at all times rather than part time, as occurs now. In a new tactic, the officials said, the Navy is considering plans to deploy battle groups centered on recently refurbished battleships to the Indian Ocean to relieve pressure on the carriers. The carriers often spend more than six months in continuous operations at sea, which takes a toll on sailors, ships and aircraft. The immediate threat to oil tankers sailing through the Strait of Hor-muz into the Arabian Sea, an arm of the Indian Ocean, are anti-ship missiles that Iran has placed on its side of that passage. The Chinese-made missiles, with a range of 50 miles, could dominate the strait. In mid-March, American intelligence sources said they had spotted large land-based anti-ship missiles of a Chinese design known in the West as the HY-2 near the Strait of Hor-muz. None of the missiles, which are reportedly at two sites along the strait, has been fired, but their presence is seen as a signal by Iran that it is prepared to continue and perhaps step up the shipping war in the gulf against Iraq. The probability that Iran would actually cut off the strait is limited by its own need to ship oil through the passage, military analysts say. American carriers or battleships would sail out of range of those missiles but within striking distance, the officials said. From several hundred miles at sea, carriers could launch aircraft bombing runs or missile strikes, and battleships could fire long-range missiles. The chief spokesman for the Pentagon, Robert Sims, said in response to a question that "there is an in creased requirement to have carriers in the Indian ocean. Sims said the move came "in recognition of the Persian Gulf situation and the need to have as much of a presence there as possible." In the last few weeks, the Reagan administration has ordered U.S. warships inside the Persian Gulf to keep a close watch on American and allied ships and has offered to escort ships to Kuwait, at the head of the gulf. The United States has four or five fast, lightly armed destroyers or smaller frigates in the gulf at any one time. In addition to the Iran missile threat In the Strait of Hormuz, war-planes from Iraq, Kuwait's neighbor, have threatened commercial ships. Iraq, who has been fighting Iran for seven years, has been seeking to hamper Iranian oil exports. Further, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs or Staff, Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., sought to reassure Saudi Arabia and other nations of the U.S. commitment to maintaining a flow of oil to Europe and Japan when he visited the region last month. Murder. .From 1A also called in at that time. Morris Davis was transported to Columbus Hospital, and was pronounced dead shortly after 11 p.m. Delnita Davis says detectives made crucial mistakes almost immediately after arriving on the scene. "Everyone was trampling over the scene, everyone was coming and going without any regard to possible evidence," she said. "What about possible footsteps in the snow from the killer? Little things like that. "The initial gathering of evidence was bad, in my opinion, very bad." Delnita Davis also contends detectives didn't listen to the family's pleas to bring in Federal Bureau of Investigation agents immediately. She says the residence was a vacant Veteran's Home Administration repossession, and a sticker on the window stated the FBI would prosecute anyone breaking the law within the house. "We asked for outside help from the FBI right from the start, but the detective division said they were as qualified as the FBI, and they would get the job handled," Delnita Davis said. "They've sure handled the job well so far, haven't they?" POLICE DID PROVIDE the FBI with all available information on the case in November of 1985 so officials could draft a profile of the possible killer, Jones said. Jones also defends the detectives' initial crime-scene investigation, including the fact the body was removed from the house when the police report shows Morris likely was dead at the scene. "All hell broke loose at the crime scene right from the start," Jones said. "We had half the neighborhood near the house, we had officers responding, and then an ambulance attendant just happens to be the victim's brother." The situation was complicated by the life-saving efforts of ambulance attendants, Jones admits. "You can't blame anyone for the initial confusion at the scene," Jones said. "By the time detectives in the know had arrived, it was too late. "An attendant was already giving (mouth-to-mouth) resuscitation, and we couldn't stop him once the CPR had started. We were in the house gathering information until 8 the next morning, and we've followed up hundreds of leads since then. We've done extensive interviewing. We've tried our damnedest to solve this murder." DELNITA DAVIS WROTE a letter to Greely May 19, 1986, complaining about the investigation. Jones confirms the Attorney General's office conducted an investigation of the department's actions, and reported detectives had followed correct police procedure. She also wrote at least two letters to Melcher the first on May 6, then again May 27 and received seper-ate responses. Melcher also continued the correspondence with Davis on Aug. 15 and Dec. 2. In later correspondence, Melcher admits his letters to state and local law enforcement agencies had little bearing on the investigation. - Today, Delnita Davis says she has lost all confidence in the detective division. "I've known since the murder they would never solve this, I had a gut feeling about it," she said. "People will never know how you feel about the unsolved murder of a son until it happens to them," Delnita Davis concluded. "You know, this whole thing ... it really blows your mind. It really does." Jones says the case will be solved. "We have always maintained the attitude that we will solve this case, we have never given up hope,," he said. "You know, not a day goes by 1 don't think about Morris Davis. We'll find the person who did this. We will." 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