Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Father, son in Arkansas cop killings were headed home to Clearwater

The antigovernment activist and his teen son who ambushed and killed two officers and wounded two others in an Arkansas shooting spree Thursday were on their way home to Clearwater.

The father and son, Jerry Kane Jr. 45, and his 16-year-old son, Joseph, died in a subsequent gunbattle with police. A website memorializing the two is asking for donations to bury their bodies in Florida.

Arkansas police blame the Kanes for killing West Memphis Police Sgt. Brandon Paudert, 39, and Officer Bill Evans, 38, after a traffic stop alongside Interstate 40 around 11:30 a.m.

Father and son died 90 minutes later, according to police, killed in a ferocious shootout in a Walmart parking lot that left Crittenden County Sheriff Dick Busby and Deputy Chief W.A. Wren wounded.

But Clearwater resident Donna Wray, who says she became Kane's common-law wife three months ago, said she doesn't believe the police account of the shooting — or the media's depiction of her common-law husband's political beliefs.

Florida hasn't recognized common-law marriages since 1968.

"I consider there to be a lot of similarities to this and Ruby Ridge," she said, referring to the deadly 1992 standoff in Idaho between Randall Weaver and federal agents that left his wife and teen son and a U.S. marshal dead.

"The blatant, outright things that have been printed about him being a right-wing extremist have absolutely no basis whatsoever," Wray said. "He cared for everyone, no matter the color of their skin."

So what did Kane believe in? "That every city, every county, every state, every level of the federal government are for-profit corporations," Wray said, and Kane "removed himself from the corporate entity that calls itself a government."

He even carried "legal" papers with him, she said, to show that the government no longer had any authority over him. Papers she said he would have shown to any officer who pulled him over.

Kane explained his antigovernment theories and how they could be used to fight foreclosures and eliminate debt online and in person around the country.

Wray, whose Clearwater home is in foreclosure, said he traveled with an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle (for shooting practice), his only son and his two dogs, one of which was killed. An AK-47 was used in the Arkansas shootings, police said.

But authorities paint a much different picture of Kane. He's had several arrests in Ohio and in 2004 was accused of shooting a 13-year-old boy with a BB gun.

Sheriff Gene Kelly said six years ago he warned his deputies in Clark County, Ohio, that Kane was primed for violence after repeated run-ins with the law when he lived there.

"This man has been having confrontations with authority for years." Kelly told WBNS-Ch. 10 in Ohio, "and finally the result is that law enforcement paid the ultimate price for that."

Times staff writers Rodney Thrash and Drew Harwell and researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.

Father, son in Arkansas cop killings were headed home to Clearwater 05/22/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 22, 2010 10:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Guns, charter schools, drug education and more


    HOSTILE WORK PLACE: A legal review determines that while a University of South Florida technology center former director might have been boorish and hostile, …

  2. Fire crews battle blaze at apartment complex near Seminole Heights


    Fire crews are battling a blaze that broke out early Monday morning at an apartment complex near Seminole Heights, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.

  3. PolitiFact Florida: Claim that 5.7 million noncitizens voted is wrong

    State Roundup

    President Donald Trump's unfounded allegations that millions voted illegally in 2016 is back in the news, with his supporters pointing to a new analysis that claims millions of undocumented immigrants voted in 2008.

    Instances of noncitizens voting have been reported, but evidence points to a small number among millions of votes cast.  
  4. For Fourth of July, an American feast inspired by founding father Alexander Hamilton


    Are there a million things you haven't done? Is one of them throwing a patriotic party inspired by one of the founding fathers?

    Caribbean Pork With Potato Salad makes for the perfect Fourth of July meal.
  5. 'Baby Driver' literally turns heist movie genre on its ear, set to slick soundtrack


    Buckle up for Baby Driver, a movie so full throttle cool that you want to fist bump the screen. Style is the substance of Edgar Wright's inventive heist flick, a fresh, masterful synching of music and getaway mayhem, as if La La Land's traffic jam was moving, armed and dangerous.

    Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a getaway driver for heist arranger Doc (Kevin Spacey). Plagued by tinnitus, Baby tunes out his distracting “hum in the drum” by listening to music while he drives.
Sony Pictures