Do you remember the time when then-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee went above and beyond to push for a convicted rapist to be paroled – over the objections of victims and the community – who then murdered two women? It began in 1996, when Huckabee began his push for the convicted rapist to be released, and ran through 2001, when the parolee was arrested for murdering two women. By most accounts, Huckabee took “extraordinary steps” to exert his influence.
I wrote earlier that Huckabee has a long, sordid and frankly astonishing history
involving the crime of rape, and the Wayne Dumond saga is certainly at or near the top. It’s incredible to think that any politician, particularly a member of the tough-on-crime GOP, could survive it, let alone come to be seen by many as the conscience of the party. Remember this when you watch him address the cheering RNC crowd tonight.
Despite Dumond’s previous run-ins with the law – he was charged with bludgeoning a man to death but the charge was dropped, he was questioned on suspicion of rape and assault, and he pled guilty to assault in a separate case – and the testimony of two women who said they had been raped by him, Huckabee pushed ahead. He even considered outright clemency but pulled back in the face of public opposition. He instead worked behind the scenes to pressure the parole board to release Dumond.
I’ve pulled key headlines and excerpts from five years’ of coverage by the AP and organized them here in chronological order. I’m not sure how anyone could read through the clips and not come away questioning Huckabee’s judgment and character:
Governor: Free castrated rapist; Says man has been punished enough, AP, 9/21/96
After a review of Wayne Dumond's case, which included DNA evidence not available at trial, Huckabee said he could not justify Dumond's imprisonment.
His castration "more than has given whatever punishment is necessary, particularly for a crime that is very questionable he committed," the governor said.
Dumond, 45, was sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years for kidnapping a 17-year-old girl from her home in 1984 and raping her.
In 1985, while Dumond awaited trial, two men in stocking masks broke into his home, tied him up and castrated him with fishing line. His children found him unconscious when they got home from school. The intruders were never caught.
Rape Victim Appeals to Governor Not To Free Castrated Convict, AP, 9/24/96
"I'm scared for my safety and I'm scared for every woman that walks the street. He's a repeat offender and I think he will do it again," she said.
Second Woman Asks Governor to Keep Castrated Rapist in Prison, AP, 9/28/96
Gov. Mike Huckabee, who plans to release a convicted rapist who was castrated by vigilantes, received a letter from second woman who says she was raped by the man.
Supporters of Rape Victim Rally Against Commutation, AP, 10/1/96
Supporters of a rape victim rallied at the state Capitol today in opposition to the governor's plan to release the convicted rapist, who was castrated by vigilantes.
Board approves parole for castrated rapist, governor agrees, AP, 1/16/97
"The governor believes that this does satisfy the request of people on both sides in this case and accomplishes his wish to ensure that Mr. Dumond gets out of prison," said Huckabee spokesman Rex Nelson.
Victim asks board to keep attacker behind bars, AP, 4/8/99
The woman who says she was kidnapped and raped by Wayne Dumond has asked a prison screening committee to keep her attacker behind bars. […]
In January 1998, Dumond withdrew a request to be paroled. A week earlier, officials in Florida said they did not want to deal with Dumond's notoriety. In 1997, Texas officials said they did not want to supervise Dumond.
Board will recommend Huckabee deny Dumond's request, AP, 4/16/99
In September 1996, Huckabee riled many, including the victim and her family, when he said he was considering freeing Dumond through an act of executive clemency. Ms. Stevens came forth publicly in opposition.
Board to set Dumond Free, AP, 9/20/99
Wayne Dumond, the convicted rapist who has served 14 years in prison since he was castrated at his Forrest City home while awaiting trial in 1985, could be released in a matter of weeks, the state parole board announced Monday. […]
Gov. Mike Huckabee announced in September 1996 that he intended to free Dumond. Citing "serious questions" about Dumond's guilt, the governor said Dumond had suffered enough and served enough time.
The governor's announcement evoked protests from the victim's family and Ms. Steven publicly urged Huckabee to reconsider. The governor did not make a final decision until January 1997, denying Dumond clemency after the parole board first granted parole.
Dumond had previous brushes with the law. In Oklahoma in 1972, he was charged in the death of man who was bludgeoned with a claw hammer. The charge was dropped.
Just over a year later, after he had moved to Washington, Dumond pleaded guilty to second-degree assault in an attack on a woman in a shopping mall parking lot. […]
In 1976, after moving to DeWitt, he was questioned in the rape of a woman who told police that a man broke into her home and assaulted her at knifepoint as she lay in bed with her 3-year-old child.
Parole of convicted rapist stirs hard feelings in hometown, AP, 9/26/99
"He's not going to do anything. You got to remember the boy was castrated," says Dumond's younger brother Bobby Dumond. "I don't understand why everyone is making a big deal about it."
DuMond released from prison, AP, 10/22/99
Wayne DuMond, the state's most notorious sex offender, was released from state prison today.
Ex-Arkansas prisoner picked up on suspicion of murder, AP, 6/25/01
Castrated rapist Wayne Dumond was arrested in Missouri on a parole violation after being linked to a murder, less than two years after his release from an Arkansas prison.
Kansas City police suspect Arkansas rapist in Sept. 2000 murder of woman, 6/26/01
A castrated rapist on parole from an Arkansas prison became a suspect in a Kansas City-area murder after genetic evidence linked him to the dead woman.
Lawyer: Police suspect castrated rapist in second homicide, AP, 6/28/01
A castrated rapist being held Thursday on a parole violation and suspicion of murder is apparently also being looked at for a second homicide in the Kansas City area, a lawyer for the rapist said.
Huckabee says he's not having it both ways on DuMond, AP, 6/29/01
Gov. Mike Huckabee said Friday he is not trying to have it both ways by reminding people that he denied clemency for a paroled castrated rapist now charged with murder, and playing down that he once strongly advocated Wayne DuMond's release from prison.
Governor attempts to shed political baggage, AP, 6/30/01
Convicted rapist Wayne DuMond walked out of an Arkansas prison on Oct. 22, 1999, freed with the support, if not directly by the hand, of a governor who insisted Arkansas' most notorious sex offender had suffered enough. […]
"The action of the board accomplishes what I sought to do in considering an earlier request for commutation," Huckabee said then.
Former parole board member says Huckabee pushed for DuMond parole, AP, 7/3/01
A former state parole board member said Monday that Gov. Mike Huckabee pressured the board to approve the release of a convicted rapist now charged in the murder of a Missouri woman.
Board members differ on governor's role in freeing DuMond, AP, 7/3/01
With public and private words of support for Wayne DuMond, Gov. Mike Huckabee put pressure on the state parole board to set the convicted rapist free, two former board members said Tuesday.
Governor 'not trying to escape' support for rapist, AP, 7/11/01
For the first time publicly since Wayne DuMond's arrest in a Missouri murder, Gov. Mike Huckabee acknowledged Wednesday that he supported the convicted rapist's release from an Arkansas prison.