Arkansas Business' 25 Cases of Mystery & Mayhem (25th Anniversary)

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 23, 2009 12:00 am  

Then as now, the U.S. Attorney's Office was a tenant in the building, now known as Metropolitan Tower.

But other Arkansas connections to the horrific murder of 168 people are less well known and far more mysterious.

The bombing happened on the second anniversary of the fire that ended an FBI siege on a cultist compound near Waco, Texas, and prosecutors said McVeigh and his co-conspirators set out to retaliate for the government's handling of that incident. But the bombing also happened a few hours before the state of Arkansas executed Richard Wayne Snell, a member of a radical white supremacist group known as the CSA – the Covenant, the Sword & the Arm of the Lord.

Snell was arrested in 1984 and subsequently convicted of the murders of a Texarkana pawn shop owner and an Arkansas State Trooper. The next year, some 300 federal agents laid siege to the CSA compound in Marion County; the 10th anniversary of that siege was the day after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Whether McVeigh also hoped to avenge that government action or Snell's scheduled execution is a matter of speculation. But there's also this twist: In 1983, 12 years before McVeigh succeeded, Snell had been involved in an aborted plot to blow up the Murrah building.

There's also a little mystery left in the peripheral involvement of an ex-con from northwest Arkansas.

In 2004, Jim Bolt of Rogers was a witness in a preliminary hearing in the state murder trial of Terry Nichols, who was already serving a life sentence in federal prison for his role in helping McVeigh plan the Oklahoma City bombing.

Bolt was called to testify about one or more photographs that supposedly showed the Murrah building at the moment of explosion, evidence said to be in the possession of a business associate named John Culbertson.

According to the Tulsa World, Bolt testified that Culbertson told him that no such photographic evidence existed. Then Bolt testified that he believed there was a photo of the blast but that he had never seen it.

Bolt's testimony was cut short, however, when he began to complain of chest pain. He never returned to finish his testimony.

19. Herbert Jones Sr.
A Pulaski County jury concluded that it wasn't premeditated murder, and, ultimately, that's all that matters. Still, only two people knew exactly what happened in the locked office of car dealer Herbert Jones Sr. on the first day of June 1993, and one of them was dead.

This much is undisputed: Dan Stevens Baker, 47, had spent four years managing two apartment complexes owned by Jones, who was 72. One of the complexes, the Butler Apartments, had been shut down by the city of Little Rock less than two weeks earlier over multiple code violations. Baker – 6-foot-4, 260 pounds  and uncharacteristically unarmed – came to Jones' office about 3:45 in the afternoon to finalize a plan for Jones to hire a replacement apartment manager.



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