Skip to comments.Motive for Florida Slaying Mystery
Posted on 06/18/2002 2:19:55 PM PDT by Boxsford
Motive for Florida slaying a mystery
Jim Brown was killed May 25 in Pensacola, Fla., hours before he was to be married. Investigators are trying to determine whether Brown and the suspect in his death, William Harbour of Portsmouth, knew each other. Photo courtesy of the Brown family
By AMY JETER, The Virginian-Pilot © June 17, 2002
PORTSMOUTH -- On May 23, William Harbour kissed his wife goodbye and started a long drive from South Hampton Roads in a rented car. The Portsmouth attorney had blocked out more than a week of leave from his job with the U.S. Joint Forces Command to travel to Biloxi, Miss., for a job interview.
He did not make it back.
Two days after Harbour left, police arrested him near Perdido Key, a barrier island in the Florida panhandle near the Alabama state line. He is accused of fatally stabbing 51-year-old James Dudley Brown that morning, just hours before Brown was to be married.
A witness saw Harbour, 52, attack Brown with a long-bladed knife, change clothes, wipe blood from his body and pedal away from the crime scene on a bicycle, a Florida sheriff's report says.
Officers found Harbour riding his bike on a nearby road with bloody clothes in his backpack and what appeared to be a knife sheath attached to the bicycle.
Held without bond since his arrest, Harbour could face the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole if a grand jury decides later this month to upgrade his charges to first-degree murder.
Investigators and family members of both men have been searching for any previous connection between Brown and Harbour. None has found a clear answer.
But Harbour's attorney, James R. Stokes, said Friday the men were strangers, never meeting until minutes before Brown's slaying.
Harbour, he said, was defending his own life after a series of unfortunate coincidences led to a vicious fight.
Jim Brown grew up in Pensacola, tan and wiry, with the sun-bleached hair of a former surfer.
The 51-year-old loved to fish and boat, and was most at home sitting on the beach in a Panama hat, friends and family said. He had no need for wealth, but could afford luxuries.
``He drove an old pickup truck and wore raggedy shorts and T-shirts,'' said Mike Jones, a friend for about 20 years. ``He wouldn't buy anything for himself, but he bought his father a brand-new Mercedes.''
Brown worked with two brothers in the family business, Brown Helicopter. He often worked late managing inventory for the 18-year-old company, which buys and sells aircraft parts. The company has had numerous contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense.
Brown dated occasionally, but there was no one special until he rekindled an acquaintance with Angela Fell at a 30-year high school reunion. They planned to marry on May 25.
But Brown was apprehensive because of an incident two months earlier, said his sister, Kristine Peach, 53, of Mount Dora, Fla.
On March 18, a state fire marshal bomb squad dismantled a sophisticated bomb strapped under Jim Brown's truck at Brown Helicopter, according to news reports.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been investigating but no charges had been filed early last week.
Brown believed his truck was at home when the bomb was fixed to it, Peach said, and told federal agents of his concerns that something may happen during his upcoming wedding.
According to Stokes, Brown's fears, coupled with finding a knife-wielding stranger on his property, may have led to his death.
Harbour, an attorney and outdoorsman, has been married to the same woman for more than three decades.
He attended college and law school in Arkansas, where a friend introduced him to his future wife, Linda. Their roomy Broad Street home in Portsmouth's Port Norfolk section was on the neighborhood's Holiday Home Tour in 1997, the year they moved in.
Harbour has been a civilian employee of the Defense Department for about two decades. During that time, he has worked at an Army chemical munitions repository in Pine Bluff, Ark., on a volunteer assignment to rebuild the Haitian government in 1994, and most recently at an Army base in Vicenza, Italy.
``He's very patriotic,'' said Linda Harbour, 50, a medical technician. ``He felt if he could help, he wanted to help.''
Once a marathoner and avid bike rider, Harbour was trying to get back in shape when he left for Mississippi, his wife said. He drove a rental car because he avoided flying whenever possible.
By May 25, Harbour already had interviewed in Biloxi and at least nine days of vacation remained, officials said. He was in Pensacola looking at waterfront property for retirement when the slaying occurred, Stokes said.
While Harbour is not talking to investigators, and the jail does not allow inmates to talk to the media, Stokes gave this account of what happened:
Harbour's search for land to buy took him to Brown's neighborhood. He rode his bicycle and carried a bayonet that he usually takes to dig up items when he uses a metal detector. This time, he used it to cut saw palmetto, a plant that eases prostate problems.
As he walked, Harbour crossed through Brown's property. Brown came outside and ordered him to leave.
Harbour made an inflammatory remark to Brown as he left.
Brown grabbed Harbour's shoulder. And when Harbour turned, Brown saw the knife.
The two men scuffled, Harbour holding on to the blade's point and the handle and Brown grabbing the middle.
At one point, Harbour heard Brown say, ``I'm going to kill you.''
Harbour remembers little else, other than falling from his bicycle as he rode away, Stokes said. He was in shock when he changed clothes, pedaled away and told officers, without mentioning the fight, that he was bloody because of the spill from his bike.
Harbour had brought a gun and ammunition for protection on his road trip, Stokes said. He left both in the car's trunk on that day, which proved he did not intend to kill someone, Stokes said.
Florida prosecutor David Rimmer said Harbour's account was not consistent with the evidence. Brown's house is elevated, he said, and blood was found in the area under the house, indicating that Harbour was not merely cutting through the property.
There is also evidence that Brown was fleeing, Rimmer said. Some of Brown's multiple stab wounds were to his back -- including a blow that severed his spinal cord. Also, Rimmer said, a large amount of blood trailed from the house across the street to where Brown was found.
That blood probably was not Harbour's, Rimmer said, because he sustained only a minor cut.
Peach, Brown's sister, didn't know what to make of it.
How could a seemingly routine exchange escalate to murder? she asked Friday. Why had no one indicated earlier that the slaying could be in self-defense?
``It sounds like somebody trying to make up a defense,'' Peach said. ``He just doesn't want to go to jail.''
Harbour's story won't stop her from looking for another motive, she said.
Bruce Wood, of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, said investigators are exploring three possible connections between Harbour and Brown. One is through the Defense Department, which employed Harbour and did business with Brown Helicopter, he said. He declined to elaborate on the other theories.
Officials have investigated Harbour's possible involvement in the bomb incident. Harbour's wife and a spokesman for his employer say he was in Norfolk the day the explosive was found.
Brown's death, the third among seven siblings, has left the family reeling.
``The worse thing has happened,'' Peach said. ``No matter what the motive was, it can't be any worse than what we've been through.''
News researcher Jakon Hays, staff writer David Gulliver, 13 News and the Pensacola News Journal contributed to this report.
Reach Amy Jeter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 446-2793.
Why the bike...was it His bike...did he bring hs bike?? why take ten days off to gofor a job interview and then have 9 days left??/
Freepers...I need your help on this one!
The family business,Brown Helicopter,Inc. buys and sells surplus military helicopter parts,at least that is what the net says.
There are mucho contracts with DOD.
So, was Brown into stolen helo parts?
The Florida Sec of State corporation docs lists a "Daryl L. Roberts" as the Sec of the company.
A googling turns up that name as a chemical engineer who is big time into air particle sampling, as in bio-chem-weapon particle sampling.
Daryl L. Roberts has contracts with DOD and DOE etc.
Brown Helo says it is a different "Daryl L. Roberts" on the board.
What did the other sibs die from?
Is William Harbour a CIA agent posing as a civilian attorney employee of the Joint Forces Command?
What is/was his special legal field?
What was the job in Biloxi?
Were they both in Viet Nam together?
It would be helpful if the Brown family would go more public and talk about the company and the deaths in the family.
Has anybody else died in the company?
Will the US military cover up whatever the truth is?
Thanks for the flag, Betty Jo, and for your initial research.
On the surface, I don't buy any of the alleged reasons offered up. There's something deeper beneath the surface. This is more of a mystery than the Chandra Levy murder.
I'm going to ping some more sleuths to this story. Thanks again.
Pine Bluff Aresenal in Arkaksas?
Dont tell me he knew C L I N T O N ??
He attended college and law school in Arkansas, where a friend introduced him to his future wife, Linda." ---- Maiden Name?
"Harbour has been a civilian employee of the Defense Department for about two decades. During that time, he has worked at an Army chemical munitions repository in Pine Bluff, Ark., on a volunteer assignment to rebuild the Haitian government in 1994, and most recently at an Army base in Vicenza, Italy. ---- A Clinton/Dixie Mafia Player?
I just caught this story in the past hour for the first time. Something tells me it could be big, or it could be a love spat; but, right now, it's a big mystery.
About Mr. Harbour... This is all I have time for and it's not much. Can't find his wife's maiden name and have no idea how you'd get that online.
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.
Pensacola News Journal
March 19, 2002
Possible bomb found at Brown Helicopters
Investigators are still trying to determine if a device found at Brown Helicopters about 11 a.m. Monday is a bomb.
An employee called the Sheriff's Office and reported that he had found what appeared to be a bomb strapped underneath a truck at the business at 10100 Aileron Ave. Deputies, Escambia County EMS and Escambia County Fire and Rescue responded to the scene.
Deputies immediately found the device and secured the area. Rhonda Ray, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office, said the device had all the components of a bomb although it still hasn't been determined if it was one.
The bomb squad for the State Fire Marshal's Office disarmed it, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the device.
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.
The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)
May 28, 2002
PORTSMOUTH MAN CHARGED IN FLA. KILLING
AMY JETER THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT
A Portsmouth man has been charged with murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of a Florida man on his wedding day.
William Clyde Harbour, 52, of the 100 block of Broad St. [Portsmouth], is accused of attacking a man behind his Pensacola, Fla., house Saturday morning.
According to a police report, Harbour chased the man and stabbed him repeatedly in the upper torso with a long-blade knife. Harbour is being held without bond in Escambia County Jail, and he is scheduled for arraignment June 14. The victim, James Dudley Brown, 51, died Saturday of stab wounds. He was scheduled to marry Angela Fell that evening, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
An arrest report from the Escambia County Sheriff's Office gives this account of what happened:
Harbour approached Brown behind his home, and Brown was struck with a weapon.
Brown left a trail of blood as he ran to his driveway and across the street, where Harbour caught up with him.
According to the police report, a witness saw Harbour use both hands to stab Brown.
A witness said Harbour then changed clothes, wiped blood from his body and rode away on a bicycle, leaving a weapon behind.
A police officer who stopped Harbour found a knife sheath attached to the bicycle. The sheath was later found to fit a knife the size of the one found at the scene.
The officer also found blood on Harbour and bloody clothes in Harbour's backpack.
In March, a bomb was found beneath a truck at Brown's family business, Brown's Helicopter, but police will not say whether they believe the bomb was related to the killing, according to the News Journal.
The relationship between Harbour and Brown was unclear.
Harbour's family could not be reached.
Why in the world would a man who was finally going to be able to retire do something as stupid as this? Mob hits don't happen this way. And how did Brown know to look under his car earlier to find the bomb? He would have have to be suspicious for some reason to even look.
Weird. Ping me for any new developments.
I still suspect official, or semi-official, or even free-lance smuggling, with someone not getting his cut. Or, being in the parts business, double billing with someone not getting his cut. Or someone getting ready to talk to authorities and someone else making sure that didn't happen.
But I would be curious to know a little about Angela Fell's background. Did she know Harbour? Did she have DOD contacts?
The wedding seems to have some significance, but I can't imagine what.
It would then be sold off to a company specializing in military surplus, who would then transship the stuff to China.
The Chinese would work through US surplus dealers, sometimes buying the company, but always maintaining US citizens as the owners of record, in order to preserve access to DOD surplus.
So you have a lawyer on the inside, who could arrange certification, and Brown, a military surplus parts dealer.
I'm reaching here, but Clinton's gone, and our relations with the Chinese are evolving. Maybe people are bailing and covering their tracks?
How's that for a Grand Unified Theory?