Golf Exec Testifies in Oklahoma City Bombing Case

by Jeffrey Wood  on Monday, Feb. 16, 2004 10:55 am  

A northwest Arkansas executive who has sued and been sued by Arkansas Business Publishing Group testified last week in a preliminary hearing for the state murder trial of Terry Nichols, accused co-conspirator in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Jim Bolt of Rogers, former chief operating officer of Golf Entertainment Inc. of Springdale, was called to testify about photographs showing the Murrah building at the moment of explosion that were said to be in the possession of his business associate, John Culbertson.

Detectives raided Culbertson's Centerville, Va., home in January looking for the images.

According to the Tulsa World, Culbertson was identified as an employee of the Arkansas Chronicle, a former Rogers newspaper now said to be based in Washington, D.C. Culbertson gave authorities a photocopied page showing various slides of some kind of explosion. Another slide that reportedly shows the Murrah Building just after the blast was being sent to Oklahoma, he said. Bolt testified Feb. 10 that he was the Chronicle's managing editor from 1996 to 2000 and that he recently rejoined the business. He said Culbertson had told him that no such photographic evidence existed, the World reported. Then, apparently contradicting himself, he claimed that Culbertson had talked about a photographic slide.

"I believe such a photo does exist," the World quoted Bolt as saying. "I believe it's in the hands of a shielded source that Mr. Culbertson has dealt with."

The term "shielded source" typically refers to a person whose identity is being protected by a reporter.

Bolt said he had never seen a photo like those being sought by the court.

According to the World, District Judge Stephen Taylor repeatedly interrupted both direct and cross-examination to personally question Bolt and to warn him that sitting on evidence of the bombing would be a crime.

Bolt's testimony was cut short, however, when he began to complain of heart pain.

An affidavit filed in support of the warrant to search Culbertson's home said Dallas lawyer Thomas W. Mills Jr. saw the images on Culbertson's computer in August 1998. Apparently with help from Bolt and Springdale attorney John Dodge, Culbertson has filed a civil action in Virginia court against the Oklahoma detective who did the search.

That case is called Sienna Broadcasting Corp., et al v. Mark Easley. Sienna Broadcasting Corp. is an alternative name for Golf Entertainment Inc.

Bolt said that Golf/Sienna had also moved to Washington. Last year the Arkansas Securities Department introduced into a federal court case evidence of an improper relationship between Golf and some closely connected investor. By May 2003, Golf was delisted from an over-the-counter stock exchange.



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