Man stops policeman, confesses to Oklahoma murder 25 years ago

OKLAHOMA CITY Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:38pm EDT

Related Topics


Under the Iron Dome

Sirens sound as rockets land deep inside Israel.  Slideshow 

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A homeless man walked up to a policeman in Montana last week and confessed to involvement in the murder of an Oklahoma county commissioner 25 years ago, authorities said on Monday.

"He just said he wanted to get something off of his chest," said Stan Florence, director of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. "I think it was just one of those things he carried with him for 25 years and wanted to talk to somebody about it."

The man, Clifford W. Eagle, 53, told police he and another man were involved in the death of Leo Boyd Reasoner, a commissioner in Haskell County, Oklahoma, who was found lying across the seat of his pickup truck with a single bullet wound in his temple on June 25, 1987.

The sudden turn in the long-dormant case caught people in Haskell County by surprise, including the slain commissioner's widow, who has remarried, and his daughter, who both attended the announcement of the break in the case, said Florence.

Eagle told police he and the other man, Vince Allen Johnson, were driving along a rural Oklahoma road when they met the county commissioner, who accused Johnson of stealing from him, court documents show.

When Johnson jumped out of his vehicle and yelled that the county commissioner was reaching for a gun, Eagle said he and Johnson both drew pistols and fired, records of Eagle's confession show.

Johnson was executed in Oklahoma in 2001 for the murder of a woman in 1991 in what police called a murder-for-hire plot.

Eagle was homeless but seemed to be in a "good mental state" when he approached a patrolman on April 18 to offer his confession, said Lieutenant Kevin Effland, a spokesman for the Billings, Montana police, where Eagle approached the officer.

He remained in custody in Billings on Monday.

(Editing by Greg McCune and Sandra Maler)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (2)
DavidinWY wrote:
I’m glad he finally turned himself in, even if a little late. This is a great thing for the widow and child, knowing what happened that day helps bring closure. Good for him!

Apr 23, 2012 9:58pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
darwiND wrote:
You know the economy is bad when a homeless man turns himself into the authorities to get free meals and a bed for next 15 years.

Apr 24, 2012 12:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.