This morning I just want to update you especially the community of Omaha, Nebraska on the latest information of the James Scurlock and Jake Gardner case, as it deals with Douglas Co. Atty Don Kleine. A few days ago, the Nebraska Democratic Party passed a resolution against fellow democrat, Douglas Co. Atty Don Kleine.
In response to that, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert released a statement defending Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine Monday amid criticism of Kleine's handing of the James Scurlock case. "Don Kleine is one of the most skilled county attorneys in the Country. He is also a man I have great respect for," he wrote. "As chief of the Omaha Police Department, I have personally witnessed him be a champion for crime victims while seeking justice for victims of all races and genders. I ask that everyone revisit the vast body of work of County Attorney Kleine and you will see a dedicated and ethical public servant."
Stothert wrote: "The Nebraska Democratic Party’s attack on Don Kleine gives credibility to Ja Keen Fox and his hateful opinions and actions
In an interview Kleine says it is very disturbing. Once Kleine found out about the resolution he also stated "I’ve always promoted diversity and to accuse me of some sort of white supremacist stuff is just beyond belief to me,” Don Kleine went on to say “Criticizing you for making a decision is one thing but saying things about you that you promote white supremacy is beyond.”
Now to some members and leaders of the community his statement alone comes as a surprise. With all the backlash he has been receiving ever since he decided to not file any charges within 48 hours of James death, I would think he would know that eventually some action would be taken. It was indeed a very quick investigation done over a few days that allowed Jake Gardner to go free and to leave the state of Nebraska. Then of course, the community got together to protest the self-defense decision. And with pressure from the community and from the Scurlock family and their attorney Justin Wayne, a Grand Jury investigation was decided on to re-investigate the murder. The grand jury convened Tuesday, September 7, 2020 to determine if any criminal charges should be filed in the May 30, 2020 death of Scurlock.
After speaking to around 60 people, investigating witness statements, evidence including Gardner's social media, cell phones, and security cameras at his downtown Bar "The Hive", the grand jury returned an indictment. The counts were manslaughter, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, attempted first-degree assault and terroristic threats. There are those who still believe that what Gardner did was self-defense, but per Special Prosecutor Frederick Franklin, the majority of the evidence came from Gardner himself.
But since Gardner had already left the state, they couldn’t bring him in immediately. Instead he was given the option of turning himself in or being issued a warrant for his arrest. Gardner had informed his attorney that he would turn himself in on Sunday September 21 but that never happened. On the afternoon of September 21st Omaha authorities had received notification that James Scurlock had committed suicide in Oregon. Police in Oregon released the following statement, "At about 12:20 p.m., Hillsboro Police Department officers responded to the 300 block of Southeast Ninth Avenue after a body was found outside a medical clinic. They discovered 38-year-old Jacob Gardner of Omaha, Nebraska, dead."
Afterwards, Gardner’s’ Attorney Tom Monaghan said that social media convicted Gardner before the grand jury indicted him. "There's no way to defend the lies on social media. When you respond, you only make it worse," he said. "We have to stop the lies." "I want to make it very clear that this was a clear case of self-defense," Dornan said, describing Gardner as cooperative with police. Despite feeling that way, there are many in the community of North Omaha who still feels differently, believing all along that Gardner's actions were not of self-defense.
Being that Gardner committed suicide the Scurlock family will never know if he would have in fact been found guilty of all or some of the 4 charges he was indicted on. As a matter of fact, there are posts being made on Facebook from people demanding to see Gardner's body, despite claims that he has committed suicide.
Since then, the Scurlock family along with their attorney Justin Wayne, has decided since the Grand Jury evidence is sealed and the case against Gardner is now closed, they will do their own investigation. That investigation will include questioning the members of the Grand Jury.
Also, a lot of people has been calling for the resignation of Don Kleine. Below is what somebody had to say regarding this.
“Don Kleine files no charges within 48 hours of James death. Jake Gardner free to leave the state. Grand jury indicts him on manslaughter and 3 other charges. Knowing he’s guilty he takes his life. Then his attorneys get on tv trying to make Jake out to be the victim. Special Prosecutor speaks and gives us information we’ve all been waiting to hear. The fact that Don Klein still stands behind his decision not to charge Jake Gardner is sickening. Then you attack the special prosecutor who did the job you didn’t”.
And for those who might be wondering, to recall Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine:
- Would require someone to be the principal circulator who would file a recall petition filing form. - The principal circulator and volunteer circulators would then collect signatures. - The number of signatures required are 35% of the number of votes cast in the most recent election for that office. - There would be 30 days to collect signatures - The math for Don Kleine would be 55,199 signatures needed. - Every signature is examined and verified often, losing some so even more signatures would be needed - Don Kleine would then have the option to resign or a recall election would be called
This is still an ongoing story, so more details to follow.