Shelby-This is the story that started the Citizens For Good Government. The story was front page of our very first issue. You probably did not see it because it scared the “In-Crowd” so bad they went all over Cleveland County collecting them up before very many could read it.
The original articles from the first and second CGG issues are reprinted in this issue, along with some updates. Please sit down when you read these articles, If you are on blood pressure medication, please take your medicine right now. Telling the story of torture and the murder of Jodice Peeler is most likely the only justice she will ever get. And YOU can thank the District Attorney’s Office for the un-convicted child rapist and murderer that they turned loose in this case. Read On!!!
From the Front Page of the Original Citizens For Good Government
Robert A. Williams
Travis Gammons Thru Jodice Peeler
MILLIONS OF TAX $$$ SUPPORT
Homosexuality . Alcohol Abuse
The Inside Story Finally Comes Out
The Travis Gammons story is old news but root problems at DSS were never corrected. “That’s what I’ve been told” says out-spoken DSS Board member Robert A. Williams. “When the root cause is not corrected, then the same problems will happen over and over no matter what else you do….no matter how much money you spend. That’s a fact of life everywhere—DSS included. Especially DSS!!! That’s what this story is all about,: Williams adds.
Williams begins by saying he has received all his information from reliable inside sources. He has reviewed records and has pieced together this shocking picture of homosexuality, alcohol abuse and cover-up at the Cleveland County Department of Social Services.
Williams’ interview starts with Travis Gammons. “Travis was lucky to survive. When the call came in to DSS that Travis had been beaten near to death, Rita Glenn, the on-call caseworker, was drinking with her DSS Supervisor and lesbian lover, Jan Shooter. Rita was too drunk to go on that call. That’s the story I got”, Williams alleges.
But, the callers were smart and persistent. They found out Travis’ abuser, Michael Church, was AWOL from the Army and called the Sheriff’s Dept. Deputies responded and found little Travis in time to save his life. Deputies also arrested Church.
“The public uproar over Travis Gammons never publicly uncovered the real problems at DSS” said Williams. “DSS used the uproar to hire a lot more caseworkers but the root DSS problem—lesbian love affairs and drunken parties—was covered up. I believe The Shelby Star helped cover up what really went on at DSS and still does”, continued Williams.
State review of the DSS and Travis Gammons resulted in a report several inches thick. The State review found that every Cleveland County child protection case was mishandled in some way or another. State funding was threatened if improvements were not made.
The Shelby Star never reported these root-cause problems at DSS, nor did very much of the State report. Matter of fact, about the only thing to come out of the State report was a recommendation to hire more personnel. “From what I’ve seen, the State recommends DSS hire more people every time the State reviews anything regarding a DSS situation”, Williams added with a not-so-funny laugh
The Star jumped on the “hire more employees’ bandwagon. They always do. Unfortunately, this actually helps the cover-up and contributes to DSS’ “debauchery. “People just don’t know what is really happening at DSS. The Star hasn’t told them!” Williams explains. “Hiring more people without straightening out the mess only doomed DSS to more problems. Hiring a convicted drug offender to head up the Child Protection Department may not have been too smart either”, continued Williams.
A BIGGER PROBLEM???
“Perhaps the most evil and perverse activity at DSS may have been overlooked. Reviewing what information I had available, including private testimony, pointed to a terrible practice going on at DSS; i.e., reports of female child sexual abuse being allegedly assigned by a lesbian supervisor to lesbian caseworkers for investigation. This practice includes privately interviewing the female child and a physical examination of her body. Other cases appear to have been reassigned to other caseworkers to allow this. This is ‘sick’ and I intend to look into this allegation further”, vows Williams.
DSS learned that falsifying records would keep the State off their backs. This was easy because the State always calls DSS in advance and tells them what records the State wants to review and then never verifies the veracity of the DSS supplied-information. Thusly, DSS can hide behind confidentiality clauses to keep citizens off their backs. Hiring family and friends of Board members kept the Board happy and secure. They were not afraid of anybody or anything. They became just like the GESTAPO. “That’s the picture I got”, says Williams. “All DSS had to do was say ‘It’s a mandate’ and they got what they wanted.”
WILLIAMS SMELLS A RAT!
“Jodice Peeler was the third child murdered in Cleveland County in 1994. But, it was the first murder that DSS Director, Lorene Rogers, called me about. ‘The child was under DSS protection’ she said, but she later retracted that.”
“Then, DSS Board Chairman, (County Commissioner) Joyce Cashion, calls me with a message that preliminary autopsy reports indicated Jodice died of “natural causes”—an aneurysm. It was the first time Joyce Cashion had ever called me about anything…much less to tell me a child had died from natural causes. Well, I smelled a rat!” explained Williams.
“I requested reports from the DSS about Jodice Peeler. Lorene Rogers stated that DSS ‘followed the law and its own policy’ at one meeting, only to deny saying that at the next meeting. The DSS Board adjourned meetings when my questions got too pointed. Then the Board began to adjourn meetings before the item even came up. Some meetings were adjourned without doing any business at all. When questioned, Cashion said ‘all the law requires is that we meet once a month.’ What she implied was the law didn’t say we had to do anything other than meet.”
“Despite the DSS Board and staff trying to squelch the Jodice Peeler case, facts and inside information begins to roll in. Citizens like Rodney Spencer got involved” continues Williams.
THEN THE BREAK!!!
“Consider the DSS as a factory making a product. The product is babies. Jodice Peeler’s mother, Norma Peeler, was paid by DSS to make babies. DSS pays lots of young women to make babies. Norma was a good producer of babies. She sold drugs, too.” (Later on she was convicted of prostitution in Burke County.)
“Jodice was Norma’s sixth child and she was born while Norma was in prison. The other five children had already been taken away from Norma by DSS. Norma helped create other jobs at DSS, also,” Williams adds. “Jodice had to stay with Norma or DSS would loose a welfare case. So, Catawba County DSS took Jodice to an aunt living in Hickory until Norma got out of prison. Then, Cleveland County DSS brought Jodice back to Norma. Jodice never had a chance,” says Williams.
At this point, Williams produces a summary outline he sent to the County Commissioners, a copy of a letter Rodney Spencer sent to the US Attorney, a history Rodney Spencer prepared for Cleveland county’s District Attorney, Bill Young and Jodice Peeler’s autopsy report. The Text of these documents will be printed in the next issue.
“Jodice Peeler quickly became a Protective Service case at DSS. Numerous calls came in to DSS about Jodice being abused. It became a repeat Travis Gammons case as far as I can tell”, says Williams. “Only worse, because Jodice died.”
THE INSIDE STORY!!!
“All the following information came from a confidential source inside the DSS”, says Williams. “I have confirmed it with other sources and with information I have received and believe it to be true”, adds Williams.
“This is the story I was told”, begins Williams. “Pat Jenkins was assigned the Jodice Peeler case. Pat had a long history of alcohol abuse, including many instance of co-workers noticing alcohol on her breath while at work. She was also reported to have gone into treatment programs during the Jodice Peeler case; therefore, she was often not on the job while Jodice’s case was open and active and nobody else was assigned to Jodice as a cover for Pat.”
“Pat was also a lesbian lover to her supervisors, Pam Prichart and Jane Shooter. Their cover-up for Pat’s drinking problem was successful until that fateful day in May. Jodice was murdered and the State was on the way.”
“Pat Jenkins, Pam Prichart and Jane Shooter burned the midnight oil falsifying and backdating the work that should have been done to protect Jodice Peeler. Jodice was dead, so they had to cover their tracks. Every report must show there was not enough evidence to remove Jodice from DSS’s protective custody. It was everybody’s behinds on the line and it was DSS’s behinds they were covering now.”
“But, they were good at it; they had allegedly done it before and nobody ever checked the confidential records at DSS. Nobody that cares for the truth, anyway.”
“And the DO NOTHING—KNOW NOTHING DSS Board was intent on keeping Robert A. Williams away from the confidential record also!” added Williams, as a sideline to the story. “Another dead black baby and nobody cared”, continues Williams.
Records and minutes of DSS Board meetings show that Williams had asked about the Jodice Peeler case on several occasions, but meetings were adjourned without addressing these questions and the DSS Board continued to do nothing. Williams wrote “Letters to the Editor” (published by The Shelby Star-before Skippy) accusing the DSS Board of having “…blood on their hands”. Williams presented plans and policies to improve child protection. Rodney Spencer’s letter to the State DSS and their reply that Cleveland County had not followed procedures added information that DSS had big problems. But nothing happened. DSS was holding out behind silence and confidentiality.
The DSS Board Chairman, Joyce Cashion, appointed an ad hoc committee of Board members Rosalind Hunt and Rhonda Skorman to try to illegally “gag” Williams. (Editor’s Note: Williams called it the “Bull Hoc” Committee.)
“WSOC Channel 9 News changed all that,” Williams states. A chance encounter in Charlotte with WSOC personnel resulted in Williams inviting Channel 9 reports to Cleveland County. Williams and Rodney Spencer met with Cathy O’Hara of WSOC News and presented their information. “Cathy O’Hara was a pro!” says Williams. “She took the information Rodney and I had and confirmed it with a source we had not even thought of. She even uncovered more information that we didn’t have! I credit Cathy O’Hara and Channel 9 News for breaking the back of the DSS cover-up”, says Williams.
“But it was only a beginning to discovering the extent of the cover-up. With Channel 9’s coverage, along with Channel 3’s coverage and then even The Shelby Star having to cover the DSS fiasco, more inside information came out. This information was red hot,” says Williams. “It implicated the Child Protection Team which included a Sheriff’s Dept. member, the District Attorney, a doctor and others. Millions of taxpayer dollars seemed to be propping this cover-u7p. I had to sit on it for awhile…to see what would play out”, added Williams.
CONSPIRACY??? LARGE OR SMALL?
WILLIAMS BETS ON BONES!!
EXHUME JODICIE PEELER!!
The County Commissioners order the County Attorney, who also is the DSS Attorney, to obtain a Federal investigation. Nothing happens. Williams and the DSS Attorney clash at a DSS Board meeting on a seemingly unrelated matter. The DSS Director (Lorene Rogers) and Dr. Charles Hayak (a Child Protection Team Member) whose business receives DSS patients) write long articles for The Star saying confidentiality was needed to end public uproar. “Let the experts do their jobs”, Hayak writes. The District Attorney does nothing to begin a State investigation…not enough information to reach a ‘threshold’, he says. Then, Williams drops the bombshell.
“Exhume Jodice Peeler’s body”, Williams challenges the DSS Board. Williams explains why: “I received information from the Grand Jury that indicted Bruce Whisnant for the murder of Jodice Peeler. But, let me back up a bit.”
“The County Coroner had written an autopsy report that indicated previous abuse. The pathologist at Gaston Memorial Hospital didn’t comment on previous abuse except to say there were no broken bones, past or present; that a severe blow to the chest, which ruptured the heart, was the cause of death. In other words, Jodice had been murdered. That was pretty clear from the start”, explains Williams. “But, Rogers, Hayak and others kept saying that the County Coroner was not an expert and the pathologist was. The pathologist (according to DSS and their supporters, who typically received big bucks from DSS) didn’t mention any signs of previous abuse, so obviously there was none. I recall Rogers telling the DSS Board that bruises or scars around Jodice’s legs, recorded by the Coroner, were only smudges of something that could be wiped off; implying to me that the Coroner of many years didn’t know what he was talking about or looking at; however, I thought differently”, said Williams.
“Millions of State, Federal and County tax dollars per year were going through the Cleveland County DSS to Gaston Memorial Hospital with no oversight that I could find; especially concerning the Psychiatric Ward through DSS and Mental Health. I was already very, very, very suspicious of that arrangement; especially after the Laura Moses case, along with others. But, the Whisnant Grand Jury tip floored me.”
The tip was this: medical testimony given to the Grand Jury stated that many of Jodice Peeler’s bones were indeed broken. Ribs were broken consistent with a blow strong enough to rupture the heart; I hadn’t thought of this before. I reviewed Gray’s Anatomy at the Library and concluded it was close to impossible to hit someone in the chest hard enough to rupture the heart without breaking ribs!
The tip continued stating other bones were also broken. Some fractures were old and healed and some old fractures had never been set. All this would be consistent with not only previous but also repeated abuse against little Jodice Peeler. That’s why I called for exhuming Jodice Peeler’s body. “I’m convinced there had been a widespread cover-up”, alleges Williams, “which is why I had called for a Federal Investigation”.
The Grand Jury information should have been reviewed by the Child Protection Team whose members include the District Attorney, a Sheriff’s Deputy, Lorene Rogers, Rhonda Skorman, Dr. Hayak and others. “If this story is correct, and I believe that it is, then it’s very big!” Williams concludes. “Exhuming Jodice Peeler’s body will tell it all; and, it’s got to be the FBI that does it. Everybody else has a reason to cover-up to protect their own behinds.”
Williams continues: “So, we’ve got to get the Feds into this one. I don’t trust anybody else. Do you?”
Ed. Note: this is the first article in a series by Robert A. Williams, former member of the Cleveland County DSS Board.
The Second Article follows.
Insights Into The Jodice Peeler Case And DSS
By Rodney Spencer
It is time for concerned citizens in this County to band together and protect our children. They are our future. Your support of The Citizens for Good Government is greatly appreciated. It is you, the people, who can change those things that are wrong in our County and make them better. It is a tragedy for such a young life like Jodice Peeler’s to have so needlessly wasted.
In last month’s issue, the CGG News promised to print the text of several source documents that were referred to or quoted from in our lead story on the DSS cover-up. Those documents included my letter to the U.S. Attorney, Mark Calloway, a brief history on the Peeler case that I prepared for District Attorney, Bill Young, and the official autopsy report on Jodice Peeler. Those document texts appear below. The text of Robert A. Williams’ August 15, 1994 Memo to the Chairman of the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners regarding the Peeler case is also printed below. In that Memo, Mr. Williams recommended that the Board of Commissioners request a Federal Grand Jury investigation of the Cleveland County Department of Social Services.
Autopsy Report—Jodice Peeler
NARRATIVE SUMMARY OF
By Coroner Ralph Mitchem
This two your-old girl was taken to the emergency room by ambulance and was STRAIGHT LINE upon arrival. A life saving effort was made, however, she was pronounced (dead) by Dr. Herman. The girl’s mama’s boyfriend said the baby fell off an adult commode and did not wake up. Neighbors called and said the child had been given rat poison. The body was sent for post (mortis).
THIS WOMAN HAD ALL CHILDREN TAKEN BY DSS FOR CHILD ABUSE. AFTER A FEW WEEKS, THIS CHILD WAS BROUGHT BACK TO HER MOTHER. A FEW OLD SCARS WERE FOUND ON THE BABY’S BODY. I COULD NOT FIND ANY NEW WOUNDS OR ABUSE.
By Dr. Philip Leone
CAUSE OF DEATH: Cardiac tamponade secondary to traumatic rupture.
SUMMARY AND COMMENTS
Allegedly, the boyfriend (Bruce Whisnant) admits striking the child in the chest as he put her on the commode. THE BABY HAS A HISTORY OF PREVIOUS ABUSE. HER SIBLINGS ARE IN FOSTER HOMES.
Autopsy findings showed rupture of the anterior wall of the left ventricle and cardiac tamponade. THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH BLUNT TRAUMA TO THE CHEST.
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF PAST BACK FRACTURES OR NEW FRACTURES.
HEART: The heart weighs 49 grams. There is an obvious tear in the anterior wall of the left ventricle. The wound is irregular. The wall measures .75 cm in thickness and the previously mentioned tear is present. There is no evidence in valvular or muscular disease.
DSS Board Commends
According to Board Meeting records, DSS found insufficient cause to remove Jodice Peeler from this family environment. Incredibly, DSS Board Members Dean Westmoreland, Joyce Cashion, Rhonda Skorman and Stuart LeGrand agreed and complimented DSS staff on a job well done.
NORMA FELICIA PEELER
(Jodice Peeler’s Mother)
(Last known conviction, Prostitution in Burke County)
7/9/90: Felony: P/W/I/S/D Cocaine—Dismissed by DA.
7/9/90: Felony: Sell Cocaine—Dismissed by DA.
7/9/90: Felony: Delivery of Cocaine—Guilty. Judge Gardner sentenced $736 restitution, $25 fine, 3 yrs. suspended, 100 hours community service, 3 yrs. supervised probation.
7/9/90: Felony Probation Violation—Other conditions revoked, mod. to 18-mo., credit 8 days, counseling.
7/11/89: Felony obtain prop—false pretenses & Misdemeanor worthless check—Convict lesser charge. Judge Hamrick sentenced $40 restitution, fine $59, 90 days, 2-yr. unsupervised probation and pay attorney fees of $150.
Editor’s note: Judge Gardner’s sentence for Felony delivery of cocaine on top of felony probation violation seems very light.
BRUCE EVANCE WHISNANT
(Norma Felicia Peeler’s Boyfriend)
7/12/90: Felony: F/Degree Sexual Offence—Transferred to Superior Court.
7/12/90: Felony: S/Degree Sexual Offence—Guilty. Sentenced 8 yrs. Judge Gardner, no probation; out 33 mos.
7/12/90: Felony: Attempted S/Degree Sexual Offence—Dismissed by DA.
7/12/90: Felony: F/Degree Burglary— Transferred to SC.
7/12/90: Felony: F/Degree Burglary— Charged.
7/12/90: Felony: Breaking and/or Entering— Conv. lesser offence. Fine/Cost, $75; Rest., $600; sentenced 3 yrs., 5 yrs. supervised probation.
4/04/94: Misdemeanor: Assault on a Female—Dismissed by DA.
5/09/94: Felony: Murder— Pending. (See next article in the series)
Editor’s Note A: Whisnant released April 21, 1993 from Rutherford Co. Correctional Facility. After serving 33 months of an 11-year total sentence.
Editor’s Note B: Jodice Peeler died May 8, 1994 while in the care of these people despite repeated calls to the DSS.
Rodney L. Spencer
August 10, 1994
Mr. Mark Calloway,
Reference: Request for Federal Grand Jury Investigation
Cleveland County Department of Social Services
Dear Mr. Calloway:
Millions of Federal dollars have been sent to Cleveland County to fund Federally mandated programs to help and protect children. Yet, three children have been murdered within the past year; several more have been seriously injured.
State investigators say the Cleveland County DSS abided by policy and law in all cases, except some minor procedural errors were made in the most recent murder of a two-year old girl. But, myself and others have obtained and received information that shows that this is not the case.
Information has been obtained and received that indicates that the Cleveland County DSS did not provide the proper protective services for Jodice Peeler required and funded by Federal law and that after Jodice Peeler was sexually assaulted and later murdered, DSS employees and management conspired to criminally falsify and misrepresent records in such a manner as to cover-up and hide their neglect, improper job performance and illegal activity. Information received also states that falsifying records is a frequently occurring criminal activity pervasive throughout Cleveland County DSS in the administration and distribution of Federal funded programs and mandates.
Information and confidential testimony has been received from employees and others that a criminal conspiracy to falsify records has taken place in the Jodice Peeler and other cases. Employees say they are afraid for their jobs if they disclose their knowledge to local and/or State authorities. They say Management intimidation and criminal coercion to remain silent about this, and other cases of wrongdoing, prevents disclosure of criminal activity at the Cleveland County DSS through normal channels, but that they surely desire the criminal activity, coercion and intimidation to be stopped.
Therefore, I am formally requesting that you convene a Federal Grand Jury investigation of the Cleveland County Department of Social Services. This investigation would allow records to be reviewed by impartial authorities, would allow sworn confidential testimony from knowledgeable employees and, under the penalty of Perjury, require that facts concerning Federally funded and Federally mandated programs be disclosed by employees and Management.
I have records, information and notes to substantiate my request for this Grand Jury Investigation that are just too voluminous to include in this letter, but will be provided as enclosures and attachments.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Rodney L. Spencer
August 15, 1994
TO: Chairman, Cleveland County
Board of Commissioners
FROM: Robert A. Williams
Member DSS Board
REFERENCE: Jodice Dante Peeler (Deceased): DSS Involvement;
The following chronological history of DSS involvement with the life and death of Jodice Peeler has been compiled from documents and testimony from various officials and individuals (including individuals inside DSS). I have verified and crosschecked information sufficiently that I am convinced that every statement listed is true. Sources are available to proper authority.
DSS involvement with mother, Norma Peeler, began with birth, abuse of and removal of five older siblings of Jodice Peeler.
Jodice Peeler was born while mother was in prison, early 1992.
July 1993: Jodice Peeler was raped and sodomized. Taken to Emergency Room of Cleveland Memorial Hospital by Police/EMS. Later transported to Children’s Clinic. Treated for tear in vagina. Semen found in rectum. DSS notified. No action taken by DSS at this time.
December 1993: DSS again receives report concerning abuse/neglect of Jodice Peeler. No action taken by DSS at this time.
April 4, 1994: Bruce Whisnant, mother’s long-time boyfriend, father of several of her children (but, reported not to be father of Jodice) and convicted of felony sexual offenses is charged with Assault on Female against Norma Peeler. Allegedly threatened mother with knife to throat. Mother and Jodice move into shelter run by Abuse Prevention Council. DSS notified. No action taken by DSS at this time.
May 9, 1994: Jodice Peeler murdered. Autopsy shows rupture of heart consistent with powerful blow to the chest. Autopsy Report also shows vaginal/genital scaring and other scars consistent with past sexual and physical abuse.
May 1994: After Jodice’s death, but prior to State investigator arrival, DSS caseworker and two supervisors draft and backdate case reports and case decisions for previous abuse/neglect reports concerning Jodice Peeler. DSS report falsely concludes the July 1993 vaginal injury to Jodice was caused by her “falling on a rock” and that the caseworker had actually observed the “rock”. This report was backdated to October 1993. Other reports similarly falsified and backdated to conclude “DSS made proper decisions with information available at that time”.
May 1994: DSS Board meeting. Child Protective Services Supervisor admits DSS received reports of abuse/neglect concerning Jodice Peeler but states not enough information was available to justify removing Jodice from the home. DSS Director states to Board that all policies and laws were followed in the Jodice Peeler case. Review of record by Board Members not allowed by Director. Board Chairman and Vice Chairman limit questions from Board Members about case. DSS Board commends DSS staff on good job.
DSS Board was never notified concerning State review of Jodice Peeler case or the findings of procedural discrepancies.
July 1994: The Shelby Star reports letter from State DSS to private citizen stating Cleveland County DSS did not provide proper protective services for Jodice Peeler.
July 1994: DSS Board meeting. DSS Director denies stating all policies and laws were followed in Jodice Peeler case. Board Chairman Joyce Cashion adjourns meeting prior to agenda item about Jodice Peeler case.
RECOMMENDATION: The Cleveland County Board of Commissioners request a Federal Grand Jury investigation of the Cleveland County Department of Social Services.
On October 31, 1994, I asked for the resignation of Lorene Rogers, Bob Hensley, and Jane Shooter in connection with the handling of the Jodice Dante Peeler case. On November 1, 1994, I asked Joyce F. Cashion, Chairman of Cleveland County Department of Social Service Board for her resignation. After I asked for her resignation, she responded by slandering me and breaking General Statutes and laws of confidentiality trying to discredit me because I have uncovered the history of the life and death of Jodice Peeler and the DSS cover-up. On August 16, 1994, I presented the documented facts of Jodice Peeler’s life and her ultimate death to the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners. After responses by Lorene Rogers, Director of Cleveland County Social Services, and questions by the Commissioners, it was voted on, by a vote of 3-2, to call for an investigation from the State or the Federal Government. Ralph Gilbert voted against the investigation stating: “Congratulations on the Report”. Joyce Cashion also voted against it. I’m thankful that Commissioners E.T. Vanhoy, Sam Gold and Chairman Cecil Dickson care enough about our County and our children that they took a stand to better protect not only our County, but also our precious children. In the end, the full truth will come out if it is handled properly by the District Attorney’s office. Also, thank you, Sheriff Crawford, for your help. It is great to know we have got a sheriff who is dedicated to and concerned about the people of Cleveland County.
Editor’s Note: A reader of the first article sent me this poem about Jodice Peeler with one stipulation, that I not use her name. She has since passed away. The person who wrote this poem was Ophelia Hubbard. Often called the “Mayor of Clegg Street” for her battles to take back West Shelby from the gangs and drug dealers.
Ode to Jodice Peeler
By A Good Citizen
Mommy, Mommy, I can almost hear her say
Please don’t leave me here with him today!
Can’t you just this once stay.
I’m hurting and I don’t think I can care for myself.
Somehow I’ll grow up as fast as I can.
Then I won’t, I hope, ever again be hurt by a man!
But, we don’t always get what we want, do we?
For today he’s killed me!!
So now you won’t have to hear me beg ever again
Mommy, Mommy, please stay!
Jodice Peeler Case
By Robert A. Williams
This is the final article about Jodice Peeler. This article describes in full detail how this case was covered up. As you will soon see, until the voters make a clean sweep at the Courthouse and in County Government, Cleveland County will never prosper. Read on!!!
First, Remember, this is Cleveland County where the news is mostly controlled by the Shelby Star, Hey, pick up all these CITIZENS FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT papers and trash them before citizens have the opportunity to read them. That way The Star can keep on controlling the news. (The NAACP kept it quiet too. When I called Rev. Osborne, the NAACP Chairman at that time about the Jodice Peeler case, he said he had “too much on my plate right now,” talking about getting two Black Commissioners appointed, Mary Accor being one of them. I never had any use for the NAACP after that.)
The first two CGG issues were distributed at stores and businesses for free, kinda like the Shelby Shopper. So, the in-crowd sends out teams to stores and businesses all over the county to pick up the whole stack of CGGs and get rid of them. Note that we learned our lesson and don’t distribute them like that anymore. The County Manager, Lane Alexander, has to forget to remember to call the FBI like the Commissioner vote instructed him to do. Nothing new there either.
` Next, Get Robert A. Williams off the DSS Board as soon as possible by all means possible. This is illegal but that never stopped the in-crowd in Cleveland County. It is also complex. The Shelby Star had to do its part by trying to discredit me with their phony and distorted news reporting. Hey, The Star is used to that so they go about business as usual. Then, the nitwit twins Sheriff Dan Crawford and DA Bill Young cook up phony charges and have me arrested. I dare them to try the case and it was dismissed. When I write my next article they arrest me for the second time on the same phony charge. All reported in the Shelby Daily Liar. Again I dare them to try me and they dismiss the charge again. (Who knows, after this issue of the CGG they might try that trick again. Or a lawsuit? Probably not since the wounds they suffered from the last go around probably still hurts them.”
They are desperate though and will do anything. What they come up with is a good looking woman who works for the county. (Guess what agency?) She seduces Commissioner Chairman Cecil Dickson, who, like other men who fall for a younger woman, pretty much does what she wants him to do. Commissioner Sam Gold gets run over by a tractor and all his sense gets squeezed out. He does whatever Cecil Dickson says for him to do. Which is get Robert A. Williams off the DSS Board!!! This is before Ralph Gilbert catches the DSS employee at Ingles during working hours and she hollers sexual harassment. Gilbert went along too so they let The County Attorney Julian Wray tell them it was legal to remove me from the DSS Board and they do.. Although it was illegal, (hey, ask the new County Attorney Bob Yelton) I did not protest because I saw it as a precedent for removing other Board members who don’t do their job. Like Commissioner Mary Accor from the present DSS Board, etc.
Now, for the hard part. Throwing the murder trial of Bruce Whisnant so it would look like no crime had been committed. And a jury would have to say Not Guilty so every behind is covered.
This was especially difficult because Bruce Whisnant had already confessed to killing Jodice Peeler, was charged with 2nd Degree murder and had been sitting in the Cleveland County for a year and a half. But like I say, remember, this is Cleveland County, They do what they want down at the Courthouse. They were not too smart about hiding their tracks, but all they had to hide was real evidence from the jury. Feed the jury false or incomplete information. Hey Skippy Foster could have done this all by himself. Well, he could if it weren’t for the CGG and me.
This is how they threw the jury trial and set a child rapist and murderer free. The child rape part was easy since Whisnant was NOT charged with that. The baby falling on a sharp rock and injuring her vagina was their story and they were sticking to it. For the murder charge, Whisnant’s attorney (and soon to be County Attorney) Les Farfour put up his “Pooh-Pooh” defense. Williams, are you crazy? You might be asking. No, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction sometimes and this was one of those times.
Farfour had to do a little paperwork cover-up to hide the fact that Bruce Whisnant was a bad man with a prison record for doing bad things. He was a druggie and a sexual offender and DSS didn’t care.
Farfour filed a motion to suppress Whisnant’s criminal record from the trial. The judge said OK. Of course the DA could not then bring up that Whisnant was a bad man, but if Farfour tried to say that Whisnant was a “good daddy, not the real daddy, but a good daddy” like Farfour did, the DA could object and explain that Whisnant was NOT a good daddy. (Hey, don’t believe me, go read the autopsy report again.) The DA never objected and the judge didn’t have to let the DA provide the real evidence. The DA also did NOT enter the autopsy report into evidence.
So, the “Pooh-Pooh defense” worked. Farfour told the jury that “Jodice had to go pooh-pooh, not pee-pee and she burst her heart straining on a bowel movement.” The DA never produced anything to convict Bruce Whisnant, a man that had already confessed. The Jury did what the jury had to do, they said NOT GUILTY!!! Case closed, everything was an accident and DSS couldn’t be blamed for something that was an “Act of God.” More like an Act of Satan if the truth be known, but it wasn’t. Not yet anyway.
Out in the Courthouse parking lot I approached the Jury Foreman. A good citizen named Steve Mull. I asked Mr. Mull how the jury had reached such a verdict. He said that the DA had not produced any evidence that the jury could have convicted Whisnant on. The jury had even prayed that they do the right thing. Then I showed Mr. Mull the autopsy report for Jodice Peeler, (The same information as in this article. The same information that is standard evidence for a murder trial but left out by the Cleveland County DA in this case.) Mr. Mull’s eyes got big and he said that “if the jury had seen this, the verdict would have been different.” (GUILTY was his meaning.) But a murderer went unconvicted. A child rapist went uncharged.
No justice for the dead black baby named Jodice Peeler. Her justice got covered up just the same as the six feet of dirt covered up her dead body. Her cold grave lies in the cemetery off Holly Oak Road.
News Flash 9/16/08
Karen Ellis was just voted on unanimously by the DSS Board as the new director of the Cleveland County Department of Social Services, effective November 1, 2008 when current Director John Wasson retires.. County Commissioner Mary Accor, also a DSS Board Member, voted for Ellis, who according to The Star, worked in Child Services in 1993. That means Ellis was at “Ground-Zero” when Jodice Peeler was raped and the cover-up began. Same with the murder and cover-up. And Commissioner Mary Accor has been appraised many times regarding criminal activity at the DSS but has turned a blind eye to those crimes.
I don’t recall hearing from sources that Karen Ellis was ever directly or indirectly involved with falsifying records regarding Jodice Peeler. However, other things come to mind. Like when former DSS bigshot Kay Wallace was in Civil Court testifying about actions Wallace had taken on the job at DSS. When Wallace was asked questions regarding certain items, her Attorney (Les Farfour-remember him) advised her to take the 5th Amendment. In Civil Court you are not allowed to take the 5th Amendment unless you believe your actions are criminal and your testimony may lead to criminal charges. For your attorney to advise taking the 5th means he, as a trained attorney, also believes what you have done is a criminal violation. So, in effect, Wallace was admitting she had committed criminal acts on her government gob at DSS.
The next witness called was Karen Ellis. It was stipulated that Ellis was not to be questioned about anything criminal that she had personally done but what she had seen others do. Attorney Farfour said that would make Karen Ellis “an accomplice” to criminal acts and he would advise Karen Ellis to take the 5th Amendment also.
On top of that Commissioner Accor, as a DSS Board member, has been advised numerous times about criminal activity at the DSS. And what does she do? She votes to make a criminal or an accomplice to criminals the head over the whole shooting match at DSS. Mary Accor, although a good person herself, has made herself an “accomplice” to the crimes and cover-ups at the DSS. With Ellis taking over at DSS we have put a new face on the same old criminal mentality. Mary Accor is running for re-election as a County Commissioner but she is now an accomplice to criminal acts. Why has the DSS Board NOT eliminated the criminal element at DSS? Why have they NOT even tried? Doesn’t Cleveland County and our children deserve better than this? Maybe not!!! WE did vote these folks into office so we do deserve what we get.! YOU vote for Mary Accor at your own risk.
Make sure you read about the other dead or missing children that have yet to see justice in Cleveland County. This is only a small part of the INJUSTICE that has become the legacy of Cleveland County. And Remember, YOU ELECTED THESE PEOPLE!!! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME ON YOU!!! You knew better because we told you so. Keep on NOT listening and pray that some injustice doesn’t happen to you or your family.