Killer of 2 Ark. officers had anti-government links
Local sheriff had warned that Jerry Kane Jr. could be dangerous if confronted by law enforcement
By Chuck Bartels and Kelly P. Kissel
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Ohio man's resentment of authority and run-ins with the law was enough for a local sheriff to warn that he could be dangerous if confronted by law enforcement. Years later, the sheriff appears right: The man and his teenage son are suspected of fatally shooting two Arkansas police officers during a traffic stop before they died in a shootout.
Jerry Kane Jr., 45, of Forest, Ohio, and his son Joseph Kane, believed to be 16, were killed during an exchange of gunfire with officers in a Walmart parking lot, Arkansas State Police said Friday.
The shootings came about 90 minutes after West Memphis police Sgt. Brandon Paudert, 39, and Officer Bill Evans, 38, were attacked with AK-47 assault rifles after they stopped a minivan on Interstate 40 in West Memphis on Thursday, authorities said.
Jerry Kane, who had a long history with police, used the Internet to question federal and local governments' authority over him and held debt-elimination seminars around the country. He recently complained about being busted at a "Nazi checkpoint" near Carrizozo, N.M., where court records show he spent three days in jail before posting a $1,500 bond on charges of driving without a license and concealing his identity.
Sheriff Gene Kelly in Clark County, Ohio, said he issued a warning to law enforcement about Kane in July 2004, after Kane said a judge tried to "enslave" him when he was sentenced to six days of community service for driving with an expired license plate and no seat belt. Kane claimed he was a "free man" and asked for $100,000 per day in gold or silver, Kelly said.
"After listening to this man for almost 30 minutes, I feel that he is expecting and prepared for confrontations with any law enforcement officer that may come in contact with him," Kelly wrote in his warning to officers.
Kelly told The Associated Press on Friday that he had been "very concerned about a potential confrontation and about his resentment of authority."
On an Internet radio show, hosted on a website that lets amateurs create their own shows and live discussions, Kane expressed outrage about his New Mexico arrest.
"I ran into a Nazi checkpoint in the middle of New Mexico where they were demanding papers or jail," he said. "That was the option. Either produce your papers or go to jail. So I entered into commerce with them under threat, duress and coercion, and spent 47 hours in there."
Kane said he planned to file a counterclaim alleging kidnapping and extortion against those involved in his arrest and detention. Kane also said he had an officer sign a document that said the officer must pay for using Kane's name.
"I am now putting together an invoice for him for approximately $80,000 in gold for the eight times he used my name," Kane said on the radio show. "I already have done a background check on him. I found out where he lives, his address, his wife's name."
Mark Potok, who directs hate-group research at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Kane had not been in the group's database before Thursday. But he said that was not surprising, given the "explosive growth" in the anti-government movement in recent years. With 363 new groups in 2009, there are now 512, Potok said.
Members of so-called patriot groups don't recognize the authority of the U.S. government and consider themselves sovereign citizens.
JJ MacNab, a Maryland-based insurance analyst who has testified before Congress on tax and financial scams, said she had been tracking Kane for about two years and that his business centered on debt-avoidance scams.
Potok said such scams are common in the sovereign citizen movement.
"He basically promised them they would never have to repay their mortgage or credit card debt," MacNab said.
Kane's website showed he held one of his seminars in Las Vegas 15-16 and that he was due to appear in Safety Harbor, Fla., May 28-29. His website Friday asked that donations be sent to an address in Clearwater, Fla., to help his family.
At that Florida address, a woman, speaking through the front door, told an AP reporter to leave the property when he knocked and identified himself. Two bicycles were in front of the unkempt, single-story home and exercise equipment was on the porch. A sign on the front door read: "No visitors. This means you. Thank you for understanding."
A woman who answered the door at the home of Kane's mother, Patricia Holt of Marysville, Ohio, also told an AP reporter to leave and said she had no comment. She did not identify herself.
Associated Press Writers Jill Zeman Bleed in Little Rock; Lisa Cornwell in Springfield, Ohio; Sue Holmes in Albuquerque; Mitch Stacy in Clearwater, Fla.; and JoAnne Viviano and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.