Suspects identified in West Memphis shootings

Joe Kane, Jerry Kane (Source: YouTube)
Joe Kane, Jerry Kane (Source: YouTube)
Police surrounded Jerry and Joe Kane's van after Thursday's shootout.
Police surrounded Jerry and Joe Kane's van after Thursday's shootout.

By Andy Wise - bio | email

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - The suspects in a double shooting Thursday that left two West Memphis police officers dead were identified Friday by Arkansas State Police as Jerry Kane, 45, and his son Joseph, 16, both of Ohio.

Despite their van's connection to the House of God's Prayer church in New Vienna, Ohio, Action News 5 learned Friday that the Kanes were traveling to Florida - most likely the St. Petersburg or Clearwater area - where Kane's widow, Donna Lee, lives.

Kane and his son toured the country, holding seminars on how there really isn't "money" or "home loans," just debt that is all the federal government's fault. They would teach that all debt contracts are the responsibility of the U.S. government, not the debt-holders because, as they taught, American currency really doesn't exist.

Kane also taught that mortgage lending is a scam, and all you have to do to get a house is sign a deed or 'quit claim' that says a home is yours. In a YouTube video, waving a deed, Kane says you don't have to get a loan.

"No, we don't have to do it, because here we're doing it," he said.  

Two prosecutors on deep background, one federal and one state, said Friday this is called a 'mores' or 'Moorish' defense, used by convicted tax evaders to either fight their cases or avoid paying their debts.  

Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood said people often try that trick on foreclosures.

"We have had people recently transferring properties from themselves to themselves...on foreclosed properties," Leatherwood said.

In one seminar, Kane ranted that even a drivers license is just a debt contract.   

"It's a promise to pay," Kane says in a video posted to YouTube. "It's a bond. You've committed, uh, you've already guaranteed, uh, confessed guilt on anything they want to charge you with."

Web sites touting the two Kanes reinforce their teaching that only debt exists, and the U.S. government is responsible for it because it really holds all gold and property.

For 18 years, mug shots were Jerry Kane's portraits of choice. His record shows five run-ins with authorities in Clark County, Ohio since 1992, with offenses ranging from expired tags to felonious assaults.

Last month, while Kane was touring the country, New Mexico State Police arrested him on a traffic stop for driving without a license and attempting to conceal his identity.

Friday, the Action News 5 Investigators obtained a recording where Kane railed against the arrest. "I ran into a Nazi checkpoint in the middle of New Mexico where they were demanding papers or jail - that was the option," Kane said on an Internet radio show. "You either produce your papers or go to jail."

Kane said he spent 47 hours in a Lincoln County, New Mexico jail before he was released on a $1,500 bond.  He said he planned to sue the New Mexico State Police for what he called "kidnapping and extortion."  

He claimed he even ran a background check on his arresting officer.  Among the things he said on the show:

  • "I found out, um, where he lives, his address, his wife's name."
  • "So I'm sending them notice of an invoice for $100 per hour for the total 47 hours I was there."
  • "They got a sexual thrill out of it."
  • "They're sick in the head, that's all. So, you know, we're just going to play this silly-ass little games and go in there and, uh, uh, kill the monster under the bed, so to speak."

According to court records, Kane didn't show for his court appearance on the New Mexico charge.  The court issued a bench warrant for his arrest on May 17 - just three days before Officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans stopped Jerry and Joe Kane on Interstate 40 in West Memphis, Arkansas.

Friday evening, Arkansas State Police confirmed the identity of the suspects to be Jerry and Joseph Kane.

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