-Caveat Lector-

August 3, 1999

Trial of 'train deaths' film producer underway

Journalist faces $16 million libel suit
for naming officers in documentary

By Sarah Foster
© 1999 WorldNetDaily.com

For documentary producer Pat Matrisciana, exposing political
corruption and lawlessness on the part of government officials is
a responsibility, part of the job description of a
video-journalist, not something to shy away from -- not even if
the president of the United States might be involved.

So when offered the opportunity to make a film dealing with the
still-unsolved, 1987 double-homicide of teenage boys Kevin Ives
and Don Henry, whose mutilated bodies were found on railroad
tracks near their home west of Little Rock, Ark., and the
subsequent cover-up by state and local officials, Matrisciana
agreed wholeheartedly. He was familiar with the case having
detailed it briefly in his earlier film, "The Clinton
Chronicles," which he began in the early '90s.

The result was "Obstruction of Justice: the Mena Connection," a
hard-hitting documentary, released in April 1996, which pulled
few punches and named names as it showed the alleged connection
between the murders and cover-up by corrupt law enforcement
officers, drug traffickers and President Bill Clinton. The film
catapulted the "Train Deaths" case into national prominence.

"I'm a cause-oriented guy who looked at what had happened and
decided to become involved," Matrisciana, president of Jeremiah
Films, the California-based company which produced the film, told
WorldNetDaily.

But the 60-year-old film producer is being asked to pay dearly
for his dedication in exposing the seamy-side of government.

Yesterday he took the stand in a Little Rock courtroom to defend
himself in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane, two deputy sheriffs mentioned in
"Obstruction of Justice," are suing Matrisciana for $16 million
alleging he intentionally defamed their reputations by naming
them as suspects in the case.

Specifically, the script says, "Eyewitnesses have implicated Jay
Campbell and Kirk Lane in the murders and subsequent cover-up."
They are also named in another section.

"This is a frivolous lawsuit with no legal merit and no basis in
fact," said Little Rock attorney John Wesley Hall, who represents
the defendants. "We don't have to prove that they killed the
boys. They have to prove that they didn't."

The two teenagers were killed the night of Aug. 22-23, 1987,
their bodies found on the Union Pacific railroad tracks having
been run over by a northbound Union Pacific train near Little
Rock. The area was reputed to be a drop point in the drug
smuggling operation centered at Mena, though Mena is over 100
miles west.

Then-Governor Bill Clinton's state medical examiner, Fahmy Malek,
ruled the deaths accidental, claiming that the boys had fallen
asleep on the tracks in a marijuana-induced stupor. But a second
autopsy, performed by an out-of-state pathologist upon the demand
of Kevin's mother, Linda, concluded that the boys had been
murdered and their bodies placed on the tracks. The autopsy also
showed that Kevin's head had been crushed prior to his body being
laid on the tracks and that Don Henry had been stabbed
repeatedly.

In 1988 a county grand jury headed by Dan Harmon ruled the deaths
a homicide. No one was ever brought to justice. Not then, not
now. Nor has anyone been brought to justice for the half-dozen or
so violent deaths of potential witnesses to the crimes -- some of
them ruled "accidental" -- as were Kevin's and Don's.

For years Linda Ives -- who has become a full-time crusader for
justice -- tried to rally public support and to urge an
investigation into allegations that were being made by various
people implicating Lane and Campbell as central figures in the
murders.

According to Ives, witnesses saw two men answering descriptions
of Lane and Campbell beating the boys in the parking lot of a
market, then forcing them into an unmarked patrol car. Ives
believes Kevin and Don had witnessed a drug drop that night in
the countryside outside the town of Alexander, were seen, then
kidnapped at the parking lot where they had run to -- and taken
up on the mountain for the killing. Their bodies were laid on the
tracks where they were certain to be run over by the train, thus
making the deaths appear accidental.

"I've known about them (Lane and Campbell) since 1988," Linda
Ives told WorldNetDaily, adding that the information came from "a
number of different sources."

"For years I've begged investigative agencies -- whoever was
doing an investigation at the time -- to look at these guys,"
Ives recalled. "I begged the State Police, to look at them, the
U.S. Attorney to look at them, the FBI to look at them -- and in
Lane and Campbell's own words, they have never been interviewed
or interrogated by anybody in spite of the fact that they had
numerous sources and witnesses who implicated them."

Asked where she first heard the allegations, Ives recalled it was
Dan Harmon who first told her Lane and Campbell were suspects.

Harmon -- a friend of Bill Clinton -- is currently serving time
in federal prison on charges of drug trafficking. He is expected
to be called as a witness for the plaintiffs.

M. Darren O'Quinn, an attorney with the Little Rock law firm of
Dover & Dixon, is representing Campbell and Land in the lawsuit.
According to O'Quinn, "Obstruction of Justice" made inaccurate
claims that Matrisciana had eyewitnesses who implicated Campbell
and Lane in the murders.

"When we went to discovery," said O'Quinn, "we found out they
didn't have any eyewitnesses. They had double hearsay, but they
didn't have any witnesses who made those statements. We're saying
it was reckless to say so in the video."

Not so, said Jean Duffey, a former county prosecuting attorney
and the former head of a 1990 drug task force investigating
official corruption in Saline County, Ark., where the murders
took place.

"The statement would be libelous if it weren't true, but the fact
is -- it's true," said Duffey, who worked with Ives and
Matrisciana on the video. "Suspects from the early police
investigation have named them. They have been implicated in the
murders. Not only that, I think we can prove they are the
murderers."

Proving the allegations would be much simpler if potential
eyewitnesses were not fearful of coming forward to testify.

Matrisciana would be the first to admit the risk.

"We made a film dealing with drug dealers, law enforcement and
politicians. That's a dangerous mix," he said. "There had been
several murders, and 'Obstruction of Justice' goes through the
names of people that were right there."

Matrisciana recalled that his cameraman, John Hillyer, who worked
with him on the "Clinton Chronicles" and "Obstruction of Justice"
died under very strange circumstances in 1996, and was "fearful"
for his safety.

"John thought his life was in danger -- and we had experienced a
lot of harassment when we were doing the films," recalled
Matrisciana. "We were followed; we were harassed. So he was very
concerned. He called me from Atlanta (where he was living) and
told me he had heard there was a drug that could be given to
someone, and it would look like he died of a heart attack.

"I started laughing and said, 'John, you're so healthy, it would
never come off like a heart attack.' He said he knew, but figured
that's what they'd do.

"A couple of months later he phoned and said he had some vital
information. We figured our phones were tapped and that we
couldn't discuss it over the phone, but planned to make
arrangements to meet. Three days later, John died of a heart
attack in the dentist's office. About a year ago his widow sent
us some videos he had made of himself, saying he was afraid he
was going to be killed," Matrisciana said.

"I don't know if he was murdered," Matrisciana admitted, "But it
was strange."

Strange, too, was the plane crash, June 14, which took the life
of Matrisciana's friend David Drye, a Concord, N.C., builder and
well-known businessman, his wife Ann, his vice president of
construction and the pilot. The plane -- a two-engine prop --
crashed as it was taking off from Concord Regional Airport.
According to the Charlotte Observer, the pilot -- Kelly Ward --
told air traffic controllers that his right engine was losing
power just before the accident.

"He was a dear friend of mine," said Matrisciana, "but the
strange thing is that I was scheduled to fly with him to
Washington and had to cancel out two hours before I was supposed
to meet him in North Carolina. He made other plans and went on
the plane. The plane crash was very suspicious -- and it's under
investigation."

"I can't help but wonder if that crash weren't really for me,"
said Matrisciana. "There have been so many accidents and
unexplained deaths."

Regarding the libel suit, Matrisciana said he plans to defend his
rights as a journalist under the First Amendment. "I haven't
defamed anyone," he said, "I simply presented the facts and
stated the evidence. There was no malice, no reckless disregard
for the truth. In fact, if it weren't for my video the truth
might never be told and justice might never be done in this
case."

Since the lawsuit involves crucial First Amendment issues,
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah will be giving testimony as an
expert witness for the defense.

A jury of seven women and five men was impaneled Monday and
opening arguments presented at 1:00 p.m. The case is expected to
last all week.


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