Written by Harry Bout
To those persons that are interested in understanding why the Grand Rapids law enforcement would want to convict me of the charge of first-degree murder, you would need knowledge of the history behind it.
It regretfully began when I fooled the GRPD detectives into believing that I was someone that I was not. They had arrested and released me despite being wanted by the Indiana law enforcement, and actually being the 16 yr old kid they thought I was. They volunteered to drive me home, while profusely apologizing. Afterward, I stupidly called one of the detectives singing the song “Hound Dog” to taunt him about having me in custody and mistakenly letting me go. They were understandably furious and extremely humiliated.
Several months later the GRPD re-arrested me stating “we know who you are this time Harry” and I was taken into custody. I had agreed to waive extradition to Indiana, and I was offered a plea bargain, as the prosecution had come to the conclusion that I was not a willing participant to the charges and they also no longer needed me as a witness. I then served my time and was granted out-of-state parole back to Grand Rapids, after just a few months and discharged off parole. At some point, the GRPD discovered that I was back in Grand Rapids instead of serving a lengthy sentence in an Indiana prison, as they had expected.
Several years followed that period in time. I eventually owned several rental properties and started a family. The GRPD became aware that I had been arrested in Canada and was solely granted re-entry to the U.S. for prosecution. I was not a U.S. citizen and only possessed a permanent resident alien status. I was on temporary release by the INS at the time of this last arrest and the process of my deportation was pending.
Problems had developed within our marriage and after an argument, my wife caused an auto accident in which she did not secure our children in car seats. The children were ultimately placed in temporary foster care due to “marital instability”. We became aware that if we divorced, my wife could regain custody of our children, so we filed. Due to not being an American citizen, I needed to obtain another American spouse. This is when Dawn Bean entered into a relationship with me. Dawn had agreed to become married as soon as my divorce was finalized. Coincidentally, Detective Roelofs knew Dawn Bean and of her arrest record.
The victim, Al Iwuagwu, and I had become friends through his wife Charlotte. Despite being married, Al enjoyed several other female relationships. One of these relationships was with Vera Johnson. I shared that I had an attraction for Vera, and Al had shared that he had an attraction for Dawn, thus Al and I agreed to the mutually beneficial arrangement of swapping mates for one sexual encounter. Neither of the women knew of this agreement, yet we agreed that somehow we would make this happen for each other. This agreement led to the misunderstanding that led to Al’s death, and ultimately where my responsibility is.
Elvin Shaver discovered that I had obtained a printing press, and questioned my new relationship with Al, assuming that we had counterfeiting in mind. I misled Elvin and I told him that we were using “old plates”. Elvin had been convicted of possessing counterfeit currency printed with those old plates and did not want them connected to him again. In actuality, these plates had been destroyed, yet he believed that Al held them because I could not produce them. There were many arguments with Elvin about us confronting Al and forcing him to return them. So I said Al always had his bodyguards present, so we could not do that.
During these many heated discussions in Dawn’s presence, Elvin devised a plan to confront Al without his bodyguards present. It involved Dawn agreeing to have sex with Al, which obviously would not have these “bodyguards” present, and then Elvin and I would force the issue of Al returning the plates. Dawn was on board for this plan of action and agreed to play her part. I did not want this plan to go forward, as I knew all along there were no plates, and the printing press was obtained for completely different printing purposes. Misleading Elvin had caused an unforeseen connection in Dawn’s mind that I could never have imagined.
Dawn and I were living with Elvin and his wife Carol during this time, so I decided to move to my mother’s home to avoid any more discussion relating to obtaining these nonexistent plates. I did not return his phone calls, nor did I see Elvin for approximately two months prior to March 7, 1985. On that day, Elvin came over unannounced and Dawn let him inside. When I realized that Elvin was there, I walked him back outside to his car and told him that I hadn’t been avoiding him, but I was just very busy with my property management business, and that I had to cut our conversation short because I was late for a meeting, and I had to go.
That same evening Al, Vera, Dawn and I had planned to double date. Al’s wife Charlotte was informed that we were meeting for business and that I would be picking him up. I came inside, greeted the entire family and we were on our way. Next, we picked up Vera. We planned to go to the Marriott Hotel but ended up changing plans. We then picked up fast food and liquor. Vera was disappointed and bored and went home early. Al stated that the night was still young and suggested that the three of us go to my place. My mother was not home, so I agreed. Tragically, Dawn assumed this had a connection to Elvin coming over earlier.
Once home, Al and I went to the garage to look at the printing press and talk further about our agreement to swap girlfriends. Then we left the garage, went inside the house and all sat in the living room. Al began to relate how much he wanted to be alone with Dawn, so that’s when I said that I wouldn’t have a problem with it as long as it was a one-time thing. Dawn looked at me strangely, yet agreed quite possibly thinking we were putting Elvin’s plan into action about using the promise of sex and then Elvin and I would confront Al over the plates instead. Dawn presumably thought this was why Elvin had come over earlier that day.
Dawn and Al went upstairs to our bedroom, while I went to the dining room to make myself a drink. I began to hear rumbling noises upstairs and assumed our swapping deal was sealed. Then I heard what sounded like a gunshot. I instantly recalled threats that were left on my answering machine from a man with a prior relationship with Dawn, in which he stated he was going to kill me for taking Dawn from him. I also recalled that Dawn didn’t have a key to enter the house when Al and I went to the garage and that someone could have broken in and been waiting in the upstairs for us to come home. Terrible thoughts flooded my mind.
I ran into my mother’s bedroom and retrieved her shotgun, and loaded a shell into the chamber as I raced up the stairway. About halfway up another gunshot went off, at which time Evelyn Schneider yelled from her bedroom “Are you crazy shooting that gun off in the house, wait till your mother gets home, I’m gonna tell her everything”. I then shut Evelyn’s door and heard the other shots. I was not going into a dark room after hearing gunshots, so I yelled out “Dawn are you alright”? I had yelled this twice as there was no immediate response. Then a light came on in the bedroom, and I saw my friend Al’s head in the doorway face down.
Dawn did not intend to have sex with Al and had been stalling for time and assuming that Elvin and I would soon be there. While Dawn was stalling Al became frustrated and decided to leave and go home. When Al tried to leave the room Dawn pulled out her gun to stop him from leaving. According to Dawn, Al laughed like the gun was a joke and then he started to reach for the gun wanting to see it. Dawn wouldn’t let him get a hold of the gun and that’s when she shot him in the face. Dawn said that Al went down to his knees, and then she shot him again from on top. Al tried to crawl out of the room and she shot him again from behind.
Dawn did not believe that I wanted her to have sex with Al. As she didn’t know about the swap agreement. She believed we were putting Elvin’s previously discussed plan into action. After hearing from Dawn what happened, I went downstairs to the living room. I was in shock. I could not think. Finally, I decided to call Elvin and pleaded with him to come over immediately. I did not tell Elvin what had happened. I stated that I needed his help, and it was urgent. Upon his arrival, I took him upstairs. After assessing the situation, Elvin suggested that we dispose of the body. I was in a state of shock and regrettably agreed to help do so.
I could see no other option in my mental condition. This was a pivotal point with a tragic decision that I will regret for the rest of my life. Had I called the police instead of Elvin, the evidence would have shown that I did not cause the death of my friend. The gun residue on Dawn’s hands would have exonerated me, as would the eyewitness testimony of Ms. Evelyn Schneider. I simply could not formulate sound reason due to the psychological trauma and fear that the person I loved would be convicted of murder due to this sexual swap situation that I had created. This was about a sexual encounter gone wrong, which turned to murder.
About a month later Dawn and I were arrested. I contacted Attorney Richard C. Holst for legal counsel. After informing him of the situation I found myself in, he indicated that I would need to become a state’s witness against Dawn. I insisted to him that I would not do that, as I had caused this swapping situation and this was my fault. He thought for a moment and then stated that I needed to listen to him very carefully. He proceeded to outline a false scenario for defense, stating that if Al had forced himself on Dawn and became violent, his death would be ruled a justifiable homicide as we had no duty to retreat in our home if attacked.
I hesitated to agree but then, Attorney Holst provided me with the ink pen and paper for the letters (which inmates do not have access) to encourage Dawn to agree as well. He stated if Al was intoxicated, forcing himself on Dawn, and I came to her rescue, a struggle ensued and the gun went off, he assured that Dawn and I would walk free under justifiable homicide. Holst read all the letters, he took each of the letters out of the jail, then he (or someone) addressed each of the envelopes to Dawn, affixing the postage (inmates do not have access to postage stamps in jail) and he (or someone) then mailed all these letters to Dawn.
Dawn and her 2nd attorney were in the process of an insanity defense, of which the Judge had refused to allow a psychiatric evaluation. Receiving these letters proved to be exactly what Dawn’s 3rd attorney would need to create a plea-bargain stating that I actually did the shooting and these letters were proof that I was encouraging Dawn to lie about what had really occurred.
I then took the witness stand to explain how and why I wrote the letters, and by doing so the Judge ruled that I had waived the attorney-client privilege by testifying, and by doing so the prosecution could now call Attorney Holst as a prosecution rebuttal witness.
Attorney Holst lied as a rebuttal witness because I admitted that he fabricated the false defense for us. He denied that he fabricated the false defense and told me what to write, yet admitted that he provided me the pen & paper, as it was clear that I had no other means of obtaining those items. He also admitted that he read each of the letters and took all the letters out of the jail with him, but denied that he mailed the letters himself, saying it was possible someone in his office may have put the letters into the mail. Trusting this attorney and his advice, was another tragic pivotal point that ultimately caused me to lose all credibility.
During the course of the trial, several inaccuracies were presented. That I had fired the shots. That I had a motive. That the one eyewitness could not have seen me coming up the stairway after the first shot rang out. That the dimensions of the floor plan presented by the GRPD were correct.
I did not fire the shots. I was not on the same floor level. I did not have a motive. Al was my friend. I picked him up. Many people knew that he was with me. I brought him to my mother’s home. Lastly, I would not plan to shoot someone in my mother’s home with a witness in the next room, mere feet away. This makes no reasonable sense at all.
The blueprint depiction of the upper level of the house was not accurate. This fact was presented during the trial, yet the jury was not allowed to view the discrepancy themselves or view the vantage point of the only eyewitness. Evelyn Schneider stated that she saw “Harry” coming up the stairway with a “long gun” after the first shot was fired. This is crucial in determining who was where, and when.
Additionally, Elvin Shaver has provided affidavits stating that he had been coerced on two separate occasions by the detectives of the GRPD, once during the 1985 trial and once again prior to another court hearing regarding a later affidavit.
On the first occasion, detectives escorted Elvin Shaver from the witness stand during his testimony into a hallway for use of a drinking fountain. This was unnecessary, as there were cups and pitchers of water in several locations in the courtroom. His affidavit stated that he had been pushed around in the hallway, and threatened into cooperating for the prosecution.
The second occasion occurred while Elvin was imprisoned in the Upper Peninsula at the Kinross Correctional Facility. Elvin provided an affidavit regarding a GRPD Detective and Prosecutor Klavins, stating they coerced him into giving false testimony at my 1985 trial.
To discourage Elvin from giving his testimony, the GRPD and the Prosecutor personally drove to the upper peninsula prison to take Elvin into their custody and then transported him to the court to attend the hearing.
According to a notarized affidavit from Elvin in 2007, these two men threatened that they would charge him with perjury and make certain that he received life imprisonment for being a habitual offender if he chose to testify against them or say anything other then that he pleads the Fifth Amendment. When Elvin was put on the witness stand, he would not answer any questions. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment, as was directed.
The GRPD was aware from day one, April 5th,1985 from Evelyn Schneider’s recorded interview with them on that day, that I was not in the upstairs bedroom when the first of 3 gunshots were heard, and that I was witnessed coming up the stairway with a shotgun.
The GRPD was clearly aware by Dawn’s own recorded admissions that she placed herself in that upstairs bedroom with Al Iwuagwu.
Additionally, the GRPD was absolutely aware that Al had been shot with a handgun and not a shotgun.
Yet despite these key pieces of evidence, the GRPD chose to prosecute me instead of an unlikely 16 yr old girl who actually is guilty of this.