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Minister claims he saw killers in '77 Camp Scott murder case

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An Oklahoma minister is trying to convince authorities he

can name two of four men he says participated in the killing

of three Girl Scouts in Locust Grove 13 years ago.

The man who headed the investigation for the Oklahoma State

Bureau of Investigation, Ted Limke, says he remembers when

the minister brought the story forward years ago and, "there

was nothing to substantiate it."

OSBI spokesman Paul Renfrow says he can not discuss specific

names. He says a lead brought forward by a man last summer

was checked out "and we found nothing whatsoever to indicate

there was anything we needed to continue investigating."

Ted LaTurner, a former private investigator who assisted

officials in investigating the slayings, says he believes

the story of the Rev. Gerald Manley.

LaTurner says Manley has passed a polygraph test and told

the same story under hypnosis.

"I've watched him quiver and cry. The man is not making

this up," LaTurner says. "The more you get to know him,

the better you see the picture."

LaTurner says Manley claims to have been in the tent the

night Lorie Lee Farmer, 8, and Doris Denise Milner, 10,

both of Tulsa, and Michelle Guse, 9, of Broken Arrow were

killed.

The three girls were found molested and bludgeoned to death

or strangled at Camp Scott south of Locust Grove on June

13, 1977.

They had left Tulsa with about 140 other Girl Scouts the

previous day.

Manley could not be reached for comment. LaTurner says Manley

contacted him a year ago after seeing LaTurner's name and

photo in a newspaper. LaTurner says Manley asked him to

help get people to listen to Manley's story.

LaTurner says Manley is a United Methodist pastor at churches

in Paoli and Wayne, south of Oklahoma City.

He says Manley claims that at the time of the killings,

he was living near Chouteau, 11 miles west of Locust Grove.

Manley told him he had made friends with some young men

who he thought needed a Christian influence.

On June 12, 1977, LaTurner says Manley claims that he was

driving and ran out of gas, and some of the young men drove

up to help him. The men, who had been drinking, drove Manley

to get gas, LaTurner quoted Manley as saying.

Manley claims the men were discussing a purse they had stolen

from a counselor's tent at the camp, LaTurner says. After

Manley was returned to his car with gas, he says he went

to Tulsa to see a friend.

He claims he drove back to Chouteau, searching for one of

the men.

Because it was late at night, he pulled over to the side

of the road and went to sleep, LaTurner says Manley claims.

One of the men woke him and wanted him to go with him to

see some of the other men.

Manley claims the man led him to a tent in the Girl Scout

camp, where two men were standing outside the tent. Manley

told LaTurner he did not recognize the men.

LaTurner says Manley did not want to go into the tent, but

was assured by one of the men there was nothing inside.

In the tent, Manley claims he saw one of the dead girls

lying on the floor, and two zipped-up sleeping bags that

appeared to contain bodies, LaTurner says.

One of the large men picked up both sleeping bags and two

other men picked up the girl and left the tent, Manley says.

The sleeping bags were dropped when the men heard a noise,

LaTurner quoted Manley as saying.

Manley went to a coffee shop "to regroup," LaTurner says.

"He was scared."

Manley went to a second restaurant, where he saw a nervous

man whose boots seemed to be covered with blood. He claims

the man looked similar to one of the men at the tent.

LaTurner says after several weeks, Manley took his story

to the Locust Grove Police Department, as well as other

authorities. "No one would listen to him."

LaTurner says he and Manley do not want to release the names

of the two men Manley accuses of the crime for fear of lawsuits.

One of the men is in prison for another murder and another

is in the Chouteau-Locust Grove area, LaTurner says.

Lt. Harry Wakefield of the Tulsa County sheriff's office

says Mayes County Sheriff Wiley Backwater requested him

to conduct a polygraph examination of Manley. Wakefield

says he cannot release results because it is a Mayes County

case.

Wakefield says he gave the results to LaTurner. LaTurner

says Manley passed the test, which he turned over to the

OSBI. Renfrow says he could not discuss results of the polygraph.

LaTurner says he thinks officials do not want to believe

Manley's story because Manley does not name Gene Leroy Hart.

He says Manley says Hart could have been one of the two

men he did not recognize, but he does not know.

Hart, who died in prison on an unrelated charge, was acquitted

of the killings by a Mayes County jury.

"They don't want anybody to prove them wrong," LaTurner says.

Genetic tests conducted by the FBI and released last fall

indicated 1 in 7,700 American Indians could match the sample

of body fluids taken from the crime scene as Hart did.

Hart's attorney contended the tests are subjective and he

is sure his client is innocent of the Camp Scott slayings.

Limke, who retired as director of the OSBI in 1989, says

"we never denied the fact that more than one person could

be involved."

Renfrow says Robert Hicks, the new OSBI director, and the

current staff of the OSBI have no reason to be biased in

the case.

He says when the story was brought to the OSBI last summer,

agents were assigned and laboratory tests were performed

on evidence that was submitted. Nothing indicated the investigation

needed to be continued.

Renfrow declined to say what the evidence is. LaTurner says

it is a plastic glove that Manley got from one of the men

he accuses. He says the glove had what appeared to be blood

on it, and that the men Manley accuses were eager to find

the glove.

LaTurner says the OSBI has not returned the glove to him.

"If it isn't important, why don't they give it back?"

A few months went by and allegations were made that "perhaps

our people were too close to the case," Renfrow says. So

Hicks assigned a second team to look into the story. The

result was a report submitted to Mayes County District Attorney

Patrick Abitbol in the spring.

There was nothing to warrant further investigation, Renfrow says.

He says the OSBI has received no official word from Abitbol

on the investigation.

Abitbol says he is reviewing the report and had no comment

on it today.

LaTurner says he is not satisfied with the OSBI's investigation

and wants a special task force appointed with people from

the Mayes and Tulsa county sheriffs' offices and the attorney

general's office.

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