ARCHIVE 5/15/08: Why the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Could Use a Credibility Transfusion Along About Now

Published May 19th, 2009, Uncategorized

Why the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office Could Use a Credibility Transfusion Along About Now

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

In March, having read all the open records in the Benoit matter, I introduced myself in a letter to Fayette County Sheriff Randall Johnson and requested interviews with him and others involved in the investigation.

Lieutenant Belinda McCastle, the public information officer, wrote back: “Sheriff Johnson has authorized you to speak with only one Fayette County Sheriff’s Office personnel, Detective Ethon Harper, lead investigator on this case.”

Harper and I began exchanging emails with my batched questions. We also had one in-depth phone conversation.

On April 3, I emailed Harper, in part: “Your report doesn’t probe the 9:26 a.m. Sunday text from James to Benoit, ‘When do u land?’ [The actual text is “What time do u land?”; I have made this trivial mistake in several places on the blog.] In your phone conversation with me the other day, you said, ‘That is very interesting.’ I don’t want to hype — is it fair to call this something that you’re conceding you missed at the time?”

On April 5, I followed up: “I want to blog further about his 9:26 a.m. text on 6/24/07, ‘When do u land?’ You said it’s ‘interesting’ and I want to know if you had a theory for it in your report or if you are pondering it now for the first time as a result of my report.”

On April 8, Harper responded: “The biggest point we took from the message is that it was unanswered. That helped with the timeline of  when Chris died.  There may have been a flight scheduled for Sunday, but that never came up in the homicide investigation.  If the WWE scheduled the flight for him then they would be the best source for proof of the flight.”

I reported that on the blog.

The next day I received my first and only email initiated by Harper:

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Irv,

I thought in one of your previous emails, you said you did not want to “hype.”

Here is what you sent to me and my response sent in a previous email.

3. Your report doesn’t probe the 9:26 a.m. Sunday text from James to Benoit, “When do u land?” In your phone conversation with me the other day, you said, “That is very interesting.” I don’t want to hype — is it fair to call this something that you’re conceding you missed at the time?

I was referring to the way you were interpreting the text.  During our conversation, I felt you were trying to say the text was planned or planted by Scott under some type of direction from the WWE.

Take Care,

Ethon

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This alleged unused quote was news to me and I told Harper so. “I will clarify in a new blog entry,” I said. “However, I first request that you send me the complete previous email, with time and date stamp, in which you gave your perspective on the James message.”

Harper said he didn’t have the asserted previous message. “I clear out my sent box pretty frequently to keep from getting the ‘over size limits’ message from our server.  I don’t have any messages past a week ago.  The only thing I have is a word document I have been pasting all of your questions into.” Anyway, “I was really just poking a little bit of fun at you.”

A detective, whose stock-in-trade is the gathering and documenting of details, cleans out his email sent folder every week? (Not to mention that our entire exchange was less than a week old.)

So Detective Harper was having a little fun. A regular riot, he is.

But why am I, along with the many others interested in getting to the bottom of the Benoit story, not laughing?

My complete email exchange with Harper on this subject can be viewed at http://muchnick.net/Harper.pdf.

Irv Muchnick