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February 16, 1975 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1975-02-16

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Sunday, February 16, 1974


Page Five!

Sunday, February 16, 1974 THE MICHIGAN DAILY Page Five

_____ _____ _____FEATU RES


Mystery surrounds
a young man'sdeath

(Continued from Page 3)
" HELPED him get out of his
car, and he asked me what
had happened. And I said that
!he hit, my car. And he didn't
seem to realize what he had
done. And he said: 'Oh, I did?"'
His condition did not vary
throughout the early evening
hours. Witnesses report White-,
herse staggering during the
immediate post-accident per-
iod, while taking the state po-
lice breathalyzer test, and even
entering the cellblock in Cor-
unna an hour and a half after
his arrest.
"I have no second thoughts
about our handling of this,"
Moiles declared in the inter-
view last May. He said he felt
no responsibility for Jack's
handling before -reaching the
jail since the "inmate" was
then in Owosso City Police
City patrolman Stanley Fra-
.zier was one of the two of fic-
ers who arrested Jack. Frazier
also took him to the nearby
state police post for the breath-
elyzer and on to Owosso City
Hall for booking before enter-
ing the jail.
A PPARENTLY, Owosso's po-
lice are as unprepared for
drug cases as Moiles' men:
Frazier testified that he knew
of no "particular established
procedures" for handling per-
sons arrested for drug usage.
At city hall, the police gave
Jack a few moments to talk
with Laura Ebe, and his 24-
year - old sister Sherry. Both
said later he was in good spir-
"He was feeling OK even
though they arrested him," said
Laura less than a week after
her boyfriend's death. "He ask-
ed me if I had the money to
bail him out . . . I said I did,
and, well-" she covered her
face - "he told me he loved
me like he usually did."

been shown to me," he told "a matter of seconds . . . it was
Van Epps. momentary."
Moiles has admitted that his
deputy "nightthavebeen" un- T EOTA FREDERICKS, the
aware of the state's rules. He woman who rangthe jail's
maintained that' since Powers switchboard thatr night, is now
overheard Jack Whiteherse and prepared to testify that the
the long - time jail inmates hesitation period was no less
shouting a conversation across than 10 minutes. She had an
the cell block around 11 p.m., unlisted telephone number and
the visual cell check was un- has declined to comment on her
necessary. former employers' action on the
"I don't know if it would be night of May 20-21 beyond that
necessary to eyeball a man if single statement and a hint that
you were talking to him," Mo- the sheriff's men moved with
iles said last week, hunching no great speed after finding
forward and rapidly tapping a the hanging body.
long steel letter opener on his The deputies' time estimates
desk. "There is no law that tend to neither support nor con-
says you will have to make an tradict her. Mike Wells said
eye check." the crucial period was 3-5 min-
In fact, the law is construed utes; J. T. Wismer estimated
by state officials to specifical- 4-5 minutes.
ly require visual inspection of The actions of the city and
prisoners' cells; it makes no county police following the in-
allowance for overheard voices. cident may suggest an effort to
None of the officers' accounts conceal and manipulate the
of finding the body are consist- facts. Norman Van Epps wasrat
ent. Moiles has stood fast on first barred access to the re-
the point that his men tried to cord of Jack's accident and
resuscitate Jack after they cut other pertinent information.
him down. When the familv indicatedit

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THE PARENTS: Suzie and Jack Whiteherse Sr.

intercom," he said. "I
jumped up and run right out,
just pulled on my trousers and
ran out. It had been such a
short time from the time they
heard him talking, we felt there
might be a chance to save his4
Deputy J. P. Wismer, who,
came on duty at midnight eight'
minutes before officer Al Ow-
ens allegedly found the body,
swore at the inquest that no ef-
forts were made to revive Jack!
after he was cut down. Owens'
and another midnight shift
man, Deputy Michael Wells,
said they had no knowledge of
any attempts to save the hanged
man's life.

might sue the local govern-
ment for negligence, the police
threatened to "throw the book"
at Jack's sister Sherry on a
disorderly conduct charge if
Van Epps pressed the case.

drunk and disorderly charge,
died less than ten minutes aft-
er deputies and other prisoners
heard him joking and singing
in the tank.
A T LEAST ONE family could
not accept the explanations.
Jack Whiteherse, Sr., and his


At least three people who wife Suzie have filed a law-
wAtched the inquest last June suit seeking $230,000 In dam-
are ready to swear that Victor ages from the city and county
Moie at down in the court- for alleged negligent treatment
oes sat dr.ownin tecourt-of their son on the night of his
room after his own testimony death.
and prompted other depart- deThe d
ment witnesses by shaking or hsbeler'ackptai te n
nodding his head for "yes" and has been a captain for ten
"no" answers.nt years in the city's fire depart-
Moiles could no ereached
for a response to this last UNIVERSITY THE
Owosso Police Chief Jerry'LOVE A L)
Potter is on vacation. The city
attorney, Louis Benson, last I Two acts of Pass
mosmaMaanmma I 8 p.m.-Tues

ment. His father was Owosso's
chief of police. For all that,
young Jack's death shook his
father's faith.
"As far as believing that he
took his own life," Jack, Sr.,
said in a December interview,
"I don't. There was some . . .
something happened. The way
it appears right now, we'll
never know unless this thing
gets broken open. But the way
it adds up now, it looks crazy."
His wife said: "What bothers
me is, they can do anything to
anybody over there and get
away with it. That is not right."


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"As far as believing Jack took his


TrHE OFFICIAL explanations wn life, was some
of the failure to make the d
required check of Jack's cell,S ehn d
once he had been booked are o ehng The way ap-
almost laughable.
Deputy Sheriff Clifford Sny-'pears right now, we'll never know un-
der, one of the only men who 's W tigbo e
was working in the jail th less this thing gets broken open. Bu
night of May 20 but who did the way it a d s up now, it looks
not testify at the inquest, re- a tadds u o ,i ok
peatedly stated in an Interview
last week that the missed cell Cra zy.
block check was caused by a ,q k1hth re r
"heavy flow of traffic andi- -Jack W hiteherse, Sr.
soners" in and out, of the cell , omonym y mtr.,
block. Sheriff Moiles concur-
red with this exolanation. Yet Lonnie Nations said he night declined to comment on
The record directly contr,: had heard the other deputies the police department's alleged
dicts both men. talking privately of attempts to failure to provide Jack Whit-
d Between 10:30 p.m. and mid- resuscitate the body. herse with medical attention.
night - the period when Jack Wismer testified of trying to WHITEHERSE'S death
Whiteherse, unwatched by his administer artificial respira- 1ACK
jailers, apparently hanged tion before cutting down the by hanging has stirred som-
himself-only two officers were body. Not surprisingly, he stat- ber doubts about the integrity
on duty in the Shiawassee ed: "I tried to do this, but I of county officials in many of
County jail. Both Lonnie Na-f couldn't get his mouth open." Owosso's population. To the
tins th ai n n i young, who were always sus-
caes the radio man, and Mkey, 'PHE COUNTY MEDICAL ex- picious of law enforcement -
stateld unders, athe that urnke aminer, J. G. Lyons, told they call the jail "Moiles Mo-
st e nleron th e the jury he could only roughly tel" - the name Whiteherse
two drnk tan iso er in the estimate the time of death as stands for repression. To adults,
the permnkan s Thd en nbetween 30 minutes and an it means an uneasy erosion of
there fraest Nnew pri- nhour before his arrival at the the old ways and security.
there for days. No new priso jail - at 12:30 a.m. - esti- Around Owosso, the inquest
after the dead body was found. mate apparently in conflict is described as a whitewash
with his own guess, based on pure and simple. And this am-
p3OWERS, WHOSE snecific statements from the sheriff and plifies the fear.
duties as turnkey include his deputies, that Jack died at Dick Crutts, manager of
the hourly cell check, was 11:18 p.m. Owosso's Big Boy restaurant,
asked a series of questions by The chance that Jack White- spoke the adults' fear: "All's I
the Whiteherse family lawyer herse could have been alive as know is, if I had my kid in that
during the inquest: "On this late as midnight makes the of- Jail, I'd want them to take
night in question, was there an ficers' speed in cutting down the every precaution. If my kid
abundance of neonle coming in body take on crucial import- was there, I'd be scared."
and out, being booked?" ante. "Murder? No, I don't think it
He answered, "No. sir." I was that blatant," reflected
Then attorney V n Enns As Lyons testified, hanging Karl Manke last week. "It's
pressed the turnkey for an ex- within three to five minutesathmre like a Keyston Kop situ-
pPRnation: and said he first saw the body Jation . .if somebody does
0. So it was a fairly quiet at2 a m ssomething wrong, and some-
ieht for you? atof the body else just pats him on the
A. Yes. sir. After the discovery ofth back and says it's all right, no
Q. And you did make, and body, the sheriff's recollections one here will see it as harm-
you have already told us you stress a helter - skelter about ful . . . more like a matter of
made checks on cells excent getting the body down for re- living in the same place like
this particular cell where Mr. vival attempts. "I slipped on they always did."
Whiteherse was? imy trousers, grabbed my cam- "You had an awful lot of peo-
A. Yes sir. era, and ran out to the jail," ple upset over it," Manke re-
Q. And you haie. also told Moiles testified last May. "I called, "but after a while, they
us that you knew he was and handed the camera to one of the went back to their kitchens and
had been arrested for' driving officers to take a picture, and accepted the explanations."
under the influence of drugs? told them to immediately cut The Shiawassee County Jail,
Q. And that his eves were him down. The officer snapped too, has changed. Soon after the
bloodshot and his walk was the picture and handed the Whiteherse hanging, - Sheriff
unsteady and his speech was camera back to me, and cut Moiles ordered a doorway and
incoherent? him down, hoping there was a huge fish-eye mirror installed
A. Yes. life." between the cell block and the
Q. He was the only one t RESIDES THE repeated con- jail's booking area - allowing
had any idication at tention that a revival at- tanks without leaving the front
should be checked, isn't that tempt followed the cutting- desk.
right? down Moiles' statement sug- Moiles had expressed great
A. In a. manner of speaking, dwMie a xrse ra
yes gests the Polaroid picture was hopes that the new arrange-
ye sir. a more urgent matter than tak- ment would deter suicides. But
Q. And he is the only one ing pressure off Jack White- in December, another young
you failed to check, isn't that herse windpipe by cutting him man was found hanging from
correct? down. When Van Epps asked the crossbars, 28-year-old Mi-
A va O~r I- _, th crsbas 28yarod i


February 2
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TRANSLATING-12 noon., Rm. 124



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