Pubdate: Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Source: Charleston Gazette (WV)
Copyright: 2004 Charleston Gazette
Author: Charles Shumaker


A Charleston police officer accused of letting a drug dealer's wife keep
thousands of dollars in drug proceeds invoked his Fifth Amendment right
during a federal court hearing Friday.

Charleston police Cpl. William Hart, currently on leave from the department,
did not testify during the U.S. District Court hearing to decide if drug
kingpin Calvin "Calcutta" Dyess and two of his associates should have their
federal prison sentences reviewed, leading to possible resentencings.

Dyess, his uncle Orange Junior Dyess, and Eric Dewayne "High School" Spencer
had their cases reopened after Hart's handling of the investigation was
questioned in 2002.

Chief Judge David Faber said he would not make Hart testify. He repeated
that same exclusion for several other witnesses throughout the daylong
hearing who chose to invoke their constitutional right against
self-incrimination. Charleston police officer George Henderson also invoked
that right.

Henderson assisted on the Dyess investigation but has never been accused of
any crime.

Hart, however, has been investigated but never indicted.

He and his lawyers presented a plea deal made with federal prosecutors in
2003 to U.S. District Judge Charles Haden.

The judge rejected the plea and said he first wanted more information on the
case to come out. Hart and Dyess' ex-wife, Rachel Ursala Rader, married
after the 1999 sentencing, raising suspicions about their relationship
during Calvin Dyess' drug case.

During the probe, Hart allegedly let Rader keep between $20,000 and $27,000
of Calvin Dyess' drug fortune, said Jane Moran, Dyess' lawyer. After she and
Hart divorced, she accused him of forcing her to lie. Two other witnesses
have admitted to lying about Hart's influence in the case.

Rader said Hart could be abusive and "sometimes he would throw things" while
helping her prepare statements. She also refused to answer some questions,
citing her Fifth Amendment rights. She said she was afraid of Hart and
Calvin Dyess.

"I was afraid of everything. I was afraid of the whole situation," Rader

Lawyers for the Dyesses' and Spencer allege Hart's behavior in the late
1990s drug investigation improperly influenced the case.

"We have attempted to show that there was a taint throughout this," Moran

Calvin Dyess received a life prison sentence while his uncle is serving 19
1/2 years and Spencer is serving more than 22 years after all three were
convicted of importing more than 100 pounds of marijuana and 200 pounds of
crack cocaine into the Kanawha Valley.

Faber did not rule on the case Friday. He took the case over after Haden's
death in March.

Federal prosecutors argued that Haden's sentence should stand regardless of
the allegations regarding false testimony given by witnesses during the

They admitted that Hart's conduct was improper in the investigation but it
didn't reach every witness and piece of evidence used to consider the 1999
prison sentences. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Josh