Jonathan Brawner, Mastermind of One Failed Kidnapping, Claims He Hid John Glasgow's Body

by Gwen Moritz  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

A version of this article originally appeared in Arkansas Business on January 23, 2012. It is being republished as part of Arkansas Business' 30th anniversary issue. You can access the digital edition for free here.

Jon Brawner masterminded the early morning kidnapping of a businessman with the intention of forcing him to transfer money from his company to offshore accounts. But things went wrong — fatally so.

This is not the story of John Glasgow, although Brawner now claims to have helped bury the body of the construction executive who vanished four years ago after leaving his Little Rock home before dawn.

This is the story of James M. Daven, a commodities broker and investment adviser who encouraged Brawner’s interest in becoming a stockbroker, hired Brawner when he failed elsewhere and called the cops when he discovered that Brawner had been writing himself checks from a company account.

This is a story pieced together from official documents and interviews.

On the last day of July 2009, 18 months after Glasgow disappeared, Jim Daven walked out of his home near Menifee (Conway County) at 7:30 a.m. Just like every other workday, he was going to get in his Toyota Tundra and drive to his commodities brokerage in Conway.

But on that Friday morning, two men who had been crouching by the driver’s side of his truck grabbed Daven and tried to cover his face with a cloth soaked in paint thinner.

Daven, pronounced “Day-ven,” teaches combat jujitsu, an extreme martial art that normally involves the use of weapons. He wasn’t armed when the two men — including 6-foot-4-inch, 296-pound David Newkirk — jumped him, but his training came in handy.

“I was used to more than one opponent at a time, and it kept me in a straight head,” Daven said last week. “I did not get excited and lose my head.”

While fighting off his attackers, Daven, then 58, yelled for his stepson, Tommy Mehlin, who was inside the house with his mother, Patricia Daven. After Mehlin yelled out a window that he had a gun, one of the attackers got off Jim and walked toward the house, raising a 9 mm handgun as he got close to the window. Mehlin fired one round blindly out the window as he ducked down below the sill.

He didn’t know it immediately, but Mehlin had killed Jeffrey Justin “J.C.” Chapman with a bullet that entered his left eye.

When the shooting started, Newkirk ran into nearby woods. Jim Daven retrieved his own .45-caliber pistol from his pickup, and he and Mehlin fired repeatedly after the giant man in gray coveralls.



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