Heath tells his story. · Heath's Case · In Heath's words

So, why now?

Lonoke has always had issues with elected officials, prominent members of the community, and old families abusing power. One could argue that it goes all the way back to owning slaves, and the reputation of those in Lonoke that were especially brutal masters. Growing up with an abusive father, I knew what it was like to have secrets and not talk for fear of punishment. Later, when I was pushed by my parents to join the cub scouts, I learned just what kind of people ran that town and how many enabled them to do the things they did.

Jack started coming onto kids in the 60’s; prominent families knew better than to allow their kids to stay overnight around him. He sought to seduce kids his own age, those younger than him and, he was SHOWN how to use the Boy Scouts to use children for his desires. Evidence has been uncovered that another man, who took Jack under his wing, was also involved in providing scouts with alcohol and dirty books on campouts. One could dismiss such as boys being boys, but when adults premeditatedly use alcohol and porn to lower resistance for abuse, it’s a nightmare.

Boys said that Jack and this other man invited them into tents and it was the same process that Jack used to molest me; medicate with alcohol, engage fantasies to disable resistance, and then manipulate the boys into different sex acts with him and each other.

Sadly, the mothers that found out their sons were being exposed to immoral acts in the Boy Scouts, ended up going to the very man that showed Jack the ropes to air her grievances. Some went to local businessmen or pastors, sponsors of the scout troop, and all received cold shoulders and empty stares. No one wanted to be liable for what they had sponsored because, as we have learned from the war on terror, if you sponsor an idea then you empower the act.

Church pastors, Sheppard to God’s flock, chose to suppress what was shared by upset parents, much as the church has covered for priests molesting children under them. The Boy Scouts are supposed to be a place where you learn skills and talents that instill confidence, purpose, and character. It is why so many churches sponsor them; offering their location as meeting places. No man of God should ever seek to suppress evidence or knowledge of rapes or murders. Comments NOT made in confession, but genuine cries for help, fell on deaf ears. Mandatory reporters, pastors, teachers, and doctors remained silent. (learn more about mandatory reporters in blog Knowledge is Power)

Judge Walls was a Sunday School teacher at Lonoke Baptist Church, and Jack often used the Lord’s day to get boys alone. He passed out alcohol on that day in a dry county and went as far as to ask a boy if he minded being “bread” on Sunday. While his father helped do communion at church, the Christian sacrament which consecrated bread and grape juice, that are consumed as memorials of Christ’s sacrifice, Jack offered boys wine and suggested that he consume them to celebrate his lusts.

Is it any wonder they sought to suppress that, along with Jack suggesting boys sleep with their sisters, share girlfriends with him and others, and parents wondered why we were teenage alcoholics and suffering emotional outbursts?

The man was all but using rituals of satanic origins, supplanting Christ’s goal of denying the flesh with Satan’s suggestion that, if it feels good, it can’t be bad. What made it even worse was Jack bragged that if anyone told, he had the power to make it go away and, when the Hogan case began, we all secretly hoped that the end was in sight. Instead, DHS broke multiple laws by not investigating. The PA’s office didn’t even try to build a case against him and, to make matters worse, Jack ended up with copies of both investigation’s notes to confront and force retractions of witnesses. This all happened before the Carlisle trial and, while it was in municipal court, the Prosecutor still sent his assistants to prosecute a case he had dismissed on the county level stating, “The actions don’t constitute a crime.”

Apparently giving teens alcohol to lower their defenses isn’t a crime, but everyone ignored the porn, since it suggested a sexual angle they couldn’t face. Is it any wonder we all retreated within ourselves, lost and alone, witnessing Jack’s proof that his father ran that town? No one ever wants to look at the fact that the Sheriff’s office did not get involved, even though the acts happened on the Walls farm outside city limits, and it took an outsider in Police Chief Peckatt to investigate and FORCE a prosecution.

Peckatt gave the PA’s office enough information to file four counts of rape and two counts of solicitation to commit murder and, in that regard, he had material evidence that needed testing. The response from the PA? “Do you think it is wise to get the evidence tested?” No surprise, really, considering they had suppressed the information and dismissed charges against Jack in 1993. The PA filed charges for the two victims from prominent families, refused to file on my behalf, saying he had a gut feeling that my case would steal the spotlight. It is clear that he didn’t want a whole community to see that he had filed charges against me that showed a bias so morally wrong, that to be exposed would end his career.

What my attorney had received as help, from an outside attorney, completely left out the fact that there was ample evidence to show a motive that undermined every element of capital murder. He couldn’t bring the solicitation to commit murder charges because they would have to admit that Jack had manipulated boys into defending their abuser. Ring a bell?  They couldn’t allow evidence to be shown that Jack had mentally tortured his victims to the point of breaking their spirits, and then manipulating them into a form of Stockholm syndrome causing them to defend him against exposure at any cost. It would have shown that Jack had used his influence over his boys, to hunt down and punish another victim, for seeking to expose him.

Boys cut brake lines, scouted out places to attempt an assassination, and shot at Cledis in an attempt to end Jack’s persecution. Jack had even hatched a plan with his nephew saying that he would have to do it because the police would suspect Jack if Cledis turned up dead. Sound familiar?

The PA’s office would have to explain how they suppressed the fact that my mother caught Jack in our home after he raped me in my bed.  I had confessed to my mom and sister what had been happening. Struggling with my own brokenness, I told Jack what I had done, and there began his plot to erase the problem. Jack broke me that weekend in ways he never had, torturing me for exposing him, and then telling me to get on my knees to get what I deserved. No longer fit for his use and abuse, he found another use for man’s best friend.

Jack walked across the street to the Knoxes and informed Karen, my mom’s friend, that he thought my parents were abusing me. He was sowing a seed for them to remember, shifting the focus, and projecting a motive onto the very people I sought to help me expose him.

Everyone wanted me convicted and gone, Jack convicted and gone, but no one wanted the truth to come out about what they had NOT done that could have kept it from ever happening. They wanted everyone to focus on the events as they defined and presented them because to seek the truth would have exposed them all as agents of a city-sponsored terrorist.

Many say I got my just reward for what happened, but what happened isn’t what they claim justified my reward. Why now after all this time? For years, I was told that the only way I would ever get out was to accept my part, do my time, and beg for mercy. The problem was that most of the records in Lonoke County had been purged; my original case file checked out and never returned and, without a record, it is impossible to get post-conviction relief. They wanted me to give up, told my family to tell me to do my time and shut up because no one wanted to have to cope with all the details – the truth.

I understood that because every interview I did tore me apart inside, causing flashbacks and other traumatic responses and, the last thing that I wanted, was to re-victimize those I empathized with the most. Yet, the more time went by, the more people forgot, and others began to speak out against any effort to have my case reopened.

For a time, as wished, I gave up completely; not knowing what to do or having any evidence that what I knew to be true was. It was the closest thing to being abused that I had ever experienced, and in the isolation and loneliness, I withdrew to survive as I always had. It wasn’t until an outsider and friend began research for a book that people began coming forward; offering bits and pieces, leading us to where crumbs existed. The more we uncovered and gathered, the more we began to see how much evidence existed – that many had known for years what Jack had done to us all.

We found evidence that Jack had attended a defensive strategy meeting with my attorney to and directly influenced my attorney’s notes regarding the meeting. Friends from college remembered me crying drunk, talking about a man that wanted me to kill people, shamed by what Jack had forced us to do to the Hogans.

My attorney suppressed Jack’s seeking to solicit murder from me just as the PA had failed to charge him with it in the Hogan case. They were old friends, known to sit beside each other at church.

Jack was invited to a retreat with all my parents’ friends, allowed to flip through the investigation file, ask about the evidence they had and if I had implicated anyone else in the crimes. Steve Finch had conducted the meeting, gathering information for the PA’s office, recorded on cassette tapes, but they weren’t part of what the PA shared in discovery.

It would be explosive if it came out Jack had helped secure the crime scene, and now was asking if there might be evidence or information implicating someone else. People listened to the tapes, wondered if Jack was in some way involved, but the information was not shared; a reoccurring theme.

Jack was one of the first to come see me at the jail, and even wrote me a letter telling me that he had taken my guns to the estate sale. I wondered what law enforcement thought of the brand new police issue sniper rifle he had helped me buy, all black with bull barrel and synthetic stock, and a .308 just like dad had at home. No, it had never been used in any illegal manner, but it was another piece of the puzzle proving that Jack had been seeking to use us in violent ways to defend him. I wondered if he still had the .45 he kept in his truck, one we had all shot at his farm, similar to the one involved in my family’s deaths.

Upon telling my attorney about the abuse, I was told to keep it under my hat, much as he had done with the information shared by my college friends. Jack told me to tell my other attorney to go talk to his father, who he said would “do all that he could” to help us, and all he did was share with the PA’s office.

I can remember Judge Walls being present when I had to sign papers saying I didn’t want any of the life insurance money. My family had used the local firm to manage the legal matters surrounding our home, property and debts, and Judge Walls was associated with them; his name on the firm letterhead.

Jack told me that I needed to plead guilty all while promising to help me if I remained quiet, and suggested to my family the same since a trial would benefit no one. The family didn’t want it to go to trial, their grief and pain on display for everyone to gawk at, or some of the abusive histories that had played out behind closed doors.

My father and his father had been rough men; prone to violence and anger and it was those experiences that offered Jack his opening. My parents were at wit’s end over my learning disability, how I struggled to learn and read and, no matter how much dad beat me, I still wasn’t able to focus as he felt I should.

My parents’ close friends, the Knoxes, had been dealing with the same issues with their boys, and they suggested a man that loved to invest time and energy into troubled and challenging boys like theirs. Charles “Jack” Walls III.

The more we found out, the sicker we became. The many chances offered, too many to seek the truth, yet everyone was more focused on their shame and name and secrets laid bare.

Why now they ask? My answer is that it took me this long to prove my secrets, find out those they suppressed, and 20 years in prison to understand how and why it happened. We do this now for the boy I was, the man I am, and the many that were silenced,

My answer is that it took me this long to prove my secrets, find out those they suppressed, and 20 years in prison to understand how and why it happened. We do this now for the boy I was, the man I am, and the many that were silenced, ignored and forgotten.

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