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Duane Peak's Suitcase - Rice/Poindexter Case

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Published on May 31, 2014

How would you feel if you were convicted for a crime you didn't commit and you spent 44 years in prison trying to prove your innocence? Do you think you would feel invisible? My name is Kietryn Zychal. I came to Omaha to make a documentary about the case of David Rice and Ed Poindexter, who were convicted in 1970 for a suitcase bombing murder. I will present the state's evidence against them- I want people to really think about what the prosecution claimed happened that Sunday afternoon in North Omaha. In this short video, we're going to retrace the steps of the state's main witness, a 16 year old named Duane Peak. He said he carried a suitcase bomb with a clothes pin triggering device around North Omaha from 5 o'clock in the afternoon to 11 o'clock at night. He said he took the bomb into three different cars and to two residences-- without exploding. Here's a clothespin triggering device-- these two thumbtacks are held apart by a wedge of wood. If the wedge comes out, a connection is made and the bomb explodes. The suitcase was supposed to have a hole the size of a nickel in it with 6 inches of insulated wire sticking out of it. No one who saw him that Sunday noticed the hole or the wire or asked him about it. Duane began his Sunday at 3508 North 24th Street- the clubhouse of the National Committee to Combat Fascism, a militant group that got in a lot of confrontations with the police. He said he got a car ride from a girl named Norma Aufrecht who took him to David Rice's house at 2816 Parker Street to pick up the bomb. David Rice had supposedly been living with a live bomb in his bedroom for seven days. At the trial, Duane said he opened the suitcase at David Rice's house and removed the blasting caps from "the detonator." This surprised the defense because Duane had never said that before in any of his statements. Duane said Norma Aufrecht drove him from 2816 Parker to 2906 Lothrop with the suitcase so he could visit a woman who was a mother figure to him-- Olivia Norris. He talked to her daughter Annie Lee. Then, his brother Donald showed up. After a visit of about 20 minutes, they left with the suitcase and got in a car driven by their sister Theresa and her boyfriend Raymond Britt. Theresa drove her brothers to their sister Delia's apartment at 19th and Burdette. Duane stayed there until 10:30 at night. He said he went in the bathroom at some point and opened up the suitcase to put the blasting caps back into the dynamite-- which would have re-armed the bomb. At 10:30, his sister Delia gave him a ride to 28th and Ohio-- with the live bomb. There were a total of seven passengers in the car. His sister, he husband, his two nieces who were small children, and another couple. There were too many passengers in the car, so Duane put the live bomb in the trunk and they drove from 19th and Burdette to 28th and Ohio. Amazingly, the bomb did not explode. First Duane said he put the bomb in the middle of the room standing up. At the trial, he said he laid it down in the doorway with the hole and the wire sticking straight up. The hole and the wire would have been visible to the officers if that statement was true. He said he sat on the porch railing for half an hour after he placed the bomb. No one noticed him. How would you feel if you were convicted based on testimony that changed constantly-- testimony that was hard to believe? Would you feel invisible?

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