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An Ozark E-Zine

Fourth in a series of investigative reports by Christine Louise Beems, editor emeritus, chronicling the process of interdiction, adjudication and dijudication as it exists in our drug-war-torn society today. [INDEX HERE] TAPED CONFESSION
"He admitted to me that he sold pot to Mr. Kelley..."
Confession (slow download --  high quality audio)
Confession (quick download -- low quality audio)

Around 3pm on March 26, Michael C. Kelley, 62 of Shirley, answered his front door to find Van Buren County Sheriff’s Investigator Randy Murray, five deputies and one State Police Trooper with search warrant in hand. Allegedly, a ‘concerned citizen’ tipped-off law enforcement that Kelley was fostering an odious marijuana operation. [see:  Gozarks, April 2007]

Kelley sighed and let them in. Officers seized six young plants and a child’s wading pool with cloned cuttings, citing same as marijuana. Kelley was arrested for manufacturing.

Also confiscated was about an ounce of highly compressed ‘commercial’ pot that Kelley says came from the ‘concerned citizen’ whose indictment was ‘probable cause’ for the warrant. Thus Kelley’s attorney, Kent Tester, claims that Kelley’s interdiction was a perpetrated set-up.

To legally demonstrate this, Tester subpoenaed the suspect informant, one Daniel Watts, 29 of Shirley, to testify at Kelley’s pre-trial hearing and prove that Kelley’s case must by law be kicked on ‘fruit of the poisoned tree’ 4th Amendment grounds.

"This whole thing was orchestrated by the jilted boyfriend of my landlady’s daughter," Kelley asserted, referencing Shalom Weiss, 18, also of Shirley.

"She called it quits with Watts on March 22," Christine Beems, 58, Kelley’s landlady and mother of Weiss, explained. "And Watts immediately put her on notice that if she refused to move in with him he would make her life hell. Within 72 hours of his ultimatum, he showed up at Mr. Kelley’s house and the next day Mr. Kelley went to jail."

"A couple of days before Mr. Kelley was arrested Daniel Watts told me that if I wouldn’t be with him he’d make my life miserable by getting the cops involved," Weiss elaborated. "He said that he already had a search warrant in process, but was giving me ‘one last chance’. He said that if I agreed to move in with him he could stop it."

Weiss said she was dumbstruck, having no idea what Watts thinking or that he was planning vindictive action against the tenant who rents the house managed by Beems but legally owned by Weiss and three siblings.

"I thought he was going to send the cops to where we live and couldn’t imagine why. I knew we had done nothing wrong," Weiss said.

"In total shock" and wanting to get to the truth of the matter after Kelley’s arrest, Weiss covertly taped several telephone conversations with Watts.

"He admitted to me that he sold pot to Mr. Kelley and that he used family ties with local law enforcement to manipulate the raid on Mr. Kelley’s residence, all to get back at me," Weiss said.

On April 12, a No Contact Order, initiated by the Fairfield Bay Police after Watts repeatedly showed up at the young woman’s workplace threatening to ‘burn her house down with her whole family in it’ and stalking her and her younger sister (a minor), was issued against Watts on behalf of Weiss by the VBC DPA’s office on charges of terroristic threatening and harassment,

"It is clear to me from my personal knowledge of this man and in listening to the tapes that Watts wanted to make the point that he has an ‘in’ with local law enforcement," said Beems. "He wanted to drive it home that Shalom wasn’t going to do anything that displeased him, at least not without someone suffering some pain. Over and over on the tapes he demands that she marry him and insists that she will ‘owe him forever’. He is obviously a very sick person and yet it seems that he is ‘trusted and protected’ by those who are charged with enforcing the law," Beems alleged.

Beems’ assertion stems from the filing of a Motion to Quash Defendant’s Subpoena by Stephen Hawks, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney of the 20th Judicial District. If granted by the court, the motion would bar Kelley’s attorney from questioning the alleged informant on the witness stand.

"The State of Arkansas neither admits nor denies the possibility of the individual’s involvement in the above-styled case," stipulates Hawks, further pleading that the State of Arkansas is, according to various rules of criminal procedure and evidence "not required" to divulge the identity of a "confidential informant."

Tester, responding, calls on the court to enforce his subpoena of Watts because the witness "has material information regarding the Affidavit for Search Warrant" and further alleging that "the State is in possession of exculpatory evidence in the form of tape recorded telephone conversations recently delivered to them."

Tester also asserts that Watts had "motive to fabricate evidence and set-up the Defendant" and that "clearly his testimony and knowledge in this case are relevant."

"This dangerous creep is a manipulative liar," Kelley, who works as a dishwasher in Fairfield Bay and has amassed debt of nearly $15,000 for bond and attorney fees to date, summarized. "He was on a vendetta to hurt this girl because she refused to be extorted for sex. He brags that he has no problem lying to a judge and he makes it clear that he and others plotted this revenge. If he gets away with convicting me on this pack of lies he will continue to terrorize innocent young girls and do whatever else he pleases with impunity."

Kelley’s case is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing before Circuit Judge Mike Maggio in October. Watts, who entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to the charges levied in the No Contact Order, stands trial in District Court on August 13. ~~~

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