LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- After eight years, numerous investigations and two grand juries, the investigation into the murders of Don Henry and Kevin Ives was officially closed in 1995.
Kevin's mom, Linda believes it's a case of police protecting police. Linda Ives however, continues to search for the truth about how her son died. Linda co-produced a documentary titled "Obstruction of Justice" and Integrity Films released it in 1996.
The film portrays a botched investigation and a cover-up involving an alleged drug ring with Saline County authorities. Ives says, "And I think Kevin and Don stumbled upon a drug drop that was protected by law enforcement officials."
Ives believes Kevin and Don came upon the scene and were grabbed and interrogated for information they didn't have and ended up being beaten and put on the railroad tracks. At the end of the documentary the narrator says, "Eyewitnesses have implicated several people in the murders and subsequent cover-up including, Dan Harmon, Richard Garrett, Jim Steed, Jay Campbell, Kirk Lane and Danny Allen.
In 1997, Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane, both undercover narcotics deputies for Pulaski County sued the filmmakers for defamation. A jury ruled in their favor and awarded them $600,000. Then last year, an 8th Circuit U.S. Court of appeals overturned that verdict.
Ives says it was a victory. She says, "It validated everything we have been saying for years. Yes, there are eyewitnesses. Yes, this case is solvable."
Ives says for the first time through this ruling, the government acknowledged eyewitness reports, which possibly link Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane to Don Henry and Kevin Ives the night they died. "I believe that there were two police officers that killed Kevin and Don. That they were the actual hands-on killers," says Ives.
The ruling highlights three reports, which were included in State Police records handed over in the defamation trial. Those reports place the teens and some deputies near a grocery store near the tracks where Kevin and Don died.
According to the ruling, Ronnie Godwin, returning home from a nightclub, saw two men believed to be police officers pushing a teenage boy up against the telephone booth. Another teenage boy was lying or kneeling on the ground. He says he then saw the men put the boys in the back of the car.
Later, Dan Harmon said the descriptions fit Campbell and Lane. Another witness, Alan Smith also says he saw an undercover police car near the store. And finally, Mike Crook, who managed a local nightclub, reports a conversation with a friend he knows as Jerry. He says jerry saw Kevin and Don, then an unmarked police car pulled up and two men in plain clothes got out. One of them he says was Kirk Lane. The other guy he didn't know, but says he was a large man.
Jerry says the two boys and the two cops got into an argument and the two cops beat the boys unconscious and threw them into the car. Jay Campbell is now the Chief of Police in Lonoke. He calls the eyewitness accounts a far stretch. He says, "They submitted records and there was not one eyewitness statement that said Jay Campbell and Kirk Lane were seen, heard or did anything."
He also discredits Ronnie Godwin's account of what happened that night. He says, "Ronnie Godwin's own family testified that you can't believe anything Ronnie says when he's been drinking, and by his own account, he was leaving a nightclub. He had been there all night."
Campbell denies he or Kirk Lane had any involvement in the deaths. He says, "Working as undercover officers, it would be asinine for us to be driving an unmarked police car with spotlights and antennas all over it."
In fact, he's still not convinced anyone murdered Don Henry and Kevin Ives. He believes Linda Ives is relying on disreputable witnesses to support what she believes. "I wouldn't believe anything Ronnie Godwin said," says Campbell. "I wouldn't believe anything Mike Crook said, Mike Crook is a known drug dealer and has been since I've been in law enforcement."
The ruling also pointed out that Campbell and Lane testified they did not kill the boys, but neither could offer an alibi. Despite what Linda Ives calls solid evidence, no law enforcement agency has re-opened the case. Linda says, "I think people have been threatened with their lives. I think people have been threatened with their jobs." But this hasn't stopped Linda from hoping. She says, "One of our rituals we go through whenever a new sheriff, or new Prosecuting Attorney comes in, we usually go talk to them and try to get them interested in re-opening the case."
Linda Ives says Kevin and Don never received the investigation they deserved. And though she will never see her son alive, she wants to see his killers brought to justice. She says, "I think about Kevin every day. Often times, it's the first thing I think of when I wake up, and the last thing I think of when I go to bed. He'll always be part of our lives, whether he's here or not."
Linda Ives says she plans to ask the newly elected Saline County prosecutor, Robert Herzfield, to investigate and she hopes another grand jury could get the case.