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Witnesses in trial over drug conspiracy tied to Russellville white supremacist group change their stories

by Dale Ellis | September 15, 2021 at 6:49 a.m.

Jurors in the methamphetamine conspiracy and racketeering trial of a Danville man heard from numerous members and associates of an Arkansas white supremacist group Tuesday regarding the drug trafficking activities of the group, as well as activities surrounding the killing of a confidential informant that took place in 2016.

Marcus O. "Red" Millsap, 53, of Danville is charged with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, aiding and abetting attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Millsap is accused by federal prosecutors of being part of a major drug trafficking conspiracy run by the New Aryan Empire, a white supremacist group based in Pope County, and of soliciting the killing of a confidential informant -- identified as Bruce Wayne Hurley -- who was found shot in front of his Atkins home May 2, 2016. Millsap is accused in an indictment of trying to get members of the New Aryan Empire to kill Hurley.

The trial is being presided over by U.S. District Judge Brian Miller.

One witness, Dustin Cannon, was declared a hostile witness for the prosecution after he told the jury that he had been coerced by the U.S. attorney's office to testify against Millsap.

Cannon said that Millsap and Wesley Gullett, president of the New Aryan Empire, may have been business partners, but he added that he had a different view of the men's relationship.

"I knew Marc looked after him like a little brother," Cannon said. "I don't know about no business relationship."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Liza Jane Brown asked Cannon if he recalled telling authorities that he had traveled to Millsap's Little Rock residence with a man named Rusty Jones to buy methamphetamine.

"I don't remember that, no," Cannon said.

"You recall Marcus Millsap offering you $20,000 to murder Bruce Hurley?" she asked.

"I don't remember that, no," Cannon replied.

"Do you recall telling us that?" she asked.

"No," Cannon said.

"Oh, you don't recall that now?" asked Brown. "You don't remember telling us that, saying at that point you eased your way out of the conversation? You don't remember telling us that?"

"I would have eased myself out of that conversation if it had been brought up," Cannon said. "But Marc never would have brought that conversation up."

"Oh," said Brown, sarcastically, "so you and Marc are old school, right?"

"Marc might be old school, but I'm 33," said Cannon, with a laugh.

"Oh, but you hung around with old schools, right?" Brown said. "Because you were a meth cook and you were a good meth cook, weren't you?"

"I don't brag about it," Cannon said.

"But you brag about coon hunting, right?" she said. "Because..."

"Yes, ma'am."

"OK."

"No. 1 in the nation."

"Oh, yeah, No. 1 in the nation, because you have a really good memory, right?" said Brown.

"Yes, ma'am."

"But when it comes to Marcus Millsap, you don't have a very good memory at all, do you?" Brown demanded.

"No, ma'am," Cannon said.

At that point, Tre Kitchens, one of Millsap's defense attorneys, objected to Brown's comment as gratuitous.

"I'll withdraw it," Brown said, as she turned back to the prosecution table.

On Tuesday, in addition to Cannon, several witnesses gave testimony that differed from statements they had given to investigators in months prior to the trial, or they gave statements under cross examination that differed from their statements under direct examination.

One witness, Gerald Wayne Mills of Russellville, told Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Mazzanti at one point that he had seen Millsap at the home of co-defendant James Scott Oliver "once a week, once every two weeks, something like that," but later said he had seen him there "a couple of times a week."

Mills initially seemed unclear on whether he had ever seen Millsap there with drugs, but he later said that "there was meth, a pound probably, maybe a pound."

Mills testified that he had heard Oliver saying "something about offering $30,000 to have somebody killed."

That somebody, prosecutors surmised, was Hurley.

"Do you recall hearing Mr. Millsap say he wished somebody would do something to this son of a b*h?" Mazzanti asked.

"Yes," Mills replied, "but he didn't say anything about money."

Testimony in the trial resumes at 9 a.m. today.

Print Headline: At trial, group's allies talk of drug efforts, man's killing

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