Thursday, October 14, 2010

Number 6: Another nightmare

Number 6: Candice Harms

Candi Harms never came home from visiting her boyfriend on September 22, 1992. Her parents reported her as a missing person the following morning, and her car was found abandoned in a corn field north of Lincoln later in the day. Weeks went by before her remains were found southeast of Lincoln.

Scott Barney and Roger Bjorklund were convicted in her abduction and murder. Barney is in prison serving a life term. Bjorklund died in prison in 2001. Intense media attention surrounded the lengthy trial of Roger Bjorklund, for which a jury was brought in from Cheyenne County--as an alternative to a change of venue.  I have no doubt that the trail was a life changing event for a group of good citizens from Sidney, Nebraska who did their civic duty.

I was the Lancaster County Sheriff at the time, involved both in the investigation and in the trial security.  It was at about this time that the cellular telephone was becoming a consumer product, and I have often thought that this brutal crime probably spurred a lot of purchases. During my career, this is probably the second most prominent Lincoln crime in terms of the sheer volume of media coverage.


The Sereies:

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bjorklund kills a beautiful young lady. Torments the memories of good citizens from Cheyenne County that convict him and family and friends of Candy. Yet he dies in prison 2001 being well-fed and clothed. Divine intervention.

Anonymous said...

I remember at the time of of discovery of Ms. Harm's body, there was talk on the street that she'd be alive today, had the pair been arrested for the Goodyear Credit Union robbery and for the break in to a Lincoln residence.

I remember this very well due to a phone call that I received the day she Barney led authorities to her body. My call said "not only are they responsible for the break in to my house, but they killed Candice Harms."

You weren't the Chief of LPD then, but I seriously feel there were some huge screw ups in this case, for which a young woman lost her life.

If LPD knew the robbed the credit union, why did they not make an arrest? The same with the break in to the private residence, LPD had to suspect them, why were they still allowed to roam the streets. Didn't they also steal a motorcycle that LPD was aware of? I believe this motorcycle was used as a getaway vehicle of the credit union robbery too. Again, if they knew this, why was the pair not arrested? I seem to recall a burglary at a business in East Park that they also were responsible for.

The list of crimes that this pair are responsible for is staggering. Was there not evidence at the time to not make an arrest of this pair? They should have been arrested from the very start, instead Ms. Harm's life was taken and a family subjected to the horrors of murder.

LPD really needs to re-examine this case, and acknowledge the mistakes made in this case, and ensure that these type of mistakes will never occur again, especially at the cost of an innocent human life.

RIP Candice Harms, your death could have been prevented had the Keystone Cops not been involved.

Former Deputy D said...

I was a Sergeant at NSP and Assistant Shift Supervisor that night in 2001 when Housing Unit staff found an unresponsive inmate in Housing Unit #4 D gallery which at that time everyone knew at Death Row. ERT's (Emergency Response Team)was sent to the location and upon arrival-Well let's just say it was something I will never forget. A very Brutal Crime and Roger Bjorklund is spending eternity in HELL. Chief, I will cross this one off my list also.

Tom Casady said...

8:03-

I don't know what to say, other than you are completely, totally wrong.

Among other things, the Goodyear Credit Union Robbery occurred a week after the abduction and murder of Candy Harms. The motorcycle you refer to wasn't even recovered until a week after the robbery, and even then there was no evidence that it was the same motorcycle used in the robbery getaway, and nothing at that point in time to tie it to Bjoklund or Barney.

To insinuate that the "Keystone Cops" allowed these two to roam around on a crime spress is utterly baseless. Here's a tip: you have to build a case and develop probable cause before you can arrest and charge a defendant.

In my entire career, I have rarely seen an investigation as competent as that of this robbery, which ultimately led to the identification of the suspects, the development of sufficient evidence for their arrest, and the jailhouse confession that tied them to the murder. The detectives on this robbery case methodically built a solid case for prosecution when there was virtually nothing to start with.

The pair were ultimately tied to a number of other crimes, but only after the robbery investigation progressed, as search warrants recovered evidence, and after Barney's confession.

You, sir (or madame), don't know what you are talking about.

Gene said...

I think Roger Bjorklund was arrested in front of the house I just sold. It was well before I purchased it though.

Anonymous said...

8:03:


To be spouting off at the mouth about law enforcement investigations like this is a major pet peeve of mine. And I am not even a law enforcement officer.

Imagine this.... You have to not only see the scene at which it happened and the body but you also have to see the photos over and over again. Not to mention go through thousands of "leads" that may get you nowhere.

And in the meantime you are thinking about it through a father/mother's eyes knowing what that parent is going through.

Sure, sometimes law enforcement is wrong. I will go along with that. But don't ever say or make up things that aren't true. These people try their hardest to get the crime solved and get a conviction.

Be patient with them and be fair. They are doing their job. Perhaps you watch too much CSI where crimes are solved in less than an hour by some super machine that doesn't even exist. Get real.

Grundle King said...

Chief, excellent write-up, as well as follow-up comment.

Now, totally off topic, but relevant to your blog (I think), here's an interesting story from across the pond. The police department is Tweeting every incident for a day. Might be kind of interesting, though time intensive, for your department to do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

8:03 is the reason that anonymous blogs are stupid!!! They blabber and blabber but you don't know who the blabbering idiot is. Nuff said.

Former Deputy D said...

Anonymous 10:05

I couldn't have said it better myself. On behalf of myself and other Law Enforcement Professionals who read this post, THANKS, Well Done!!

Anonymous said...

Chief-Any idea why Ms. Harms was targeted by these cretins, or was it a case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time?

256

JIM J said...

I was a neighbor of the boyfriend of Harms. The idea that something like this happened so close to my home at that time was chilling. The Police did the best they could with what they were working with to solve this case. October 14, 2010 8:03 AM: I nearly wasted my time reading your post, that is why I read from the bottom up!

JIM J said...

P.S anon poster:

"ensure that these type of mistakes will never occur again"
If you want a case of mistakes, use the murder of the young man found under A bridge. He lived in a group home and was killed for a pack of smokes. A school teacher who had a romantic relationship with the accused, helped to obstruct justice in the case, sending 271 on a wild goose chase. The anon poster today has no idea how tough crime investigators jobs are. When working on a case full of people who lie, the stench of false truth is sometimes overpowering. I would guess G.S learned a ton of wisdom from this journey, and wisdom is not something you learn in a class room.
Chief could you use this case for an example of the tough tasks. Sorry I do not remember specifics..But Capt B's Mother, who was a wonderfull help in my life when she was a Juv P.O was a foster care giver to some of those boys involved. I am not specific on names as I do not want to reopen any old hurt publicly.

That's what she said...

8:03 is a perfect example of what you get mixing TV cop shows with ignorance.

Tom Casady said...

256-

Trolling the city, looking for a mark. Still makes me ill after 18 years.

JumJ-

There won't be many readers who interpret your code, but rest assured I do...and several bone-cold cops who worked at that crime scene through the Christmas holiday. It is another case that makes me extremely proud to work with men and women who pour their energy and efforts into these cases as if it were their own family--whether the victim is the girl-next-door, or a friendless throwaway with no one else who much cares other than the officers.

Anonymous said...

This is somewhat related to the Harms case: Why hasn't impersonating a peace officer been made a felony in Nebraska? Does someone "more important" need to be murdered? Is that what we're waiting for?

If only the City of Lincoln and certain officials had put as much effort into drafting such a bill, submitting it to the Unicameral rep, and testifying on behalf of passage - you know, like was done when trying to get revenue-boosting, cash-cow red light cameras authorized - it might not be just a misdemeanor now. It wouldn't boost revenue through "fees" though, so don't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

There's a car that I have seen in our neighborhood a couple times over the past several weeks that looks like a law enforcement car. It's a black car with lights on top, but there are no identifying marks, it's all black, and the plates are normal plates. I have even seen this car speeding down NW 48th with it's lights on during the day. It worrys me a bit because our neighborhood isn't very well lit at night, so if this person tries to pull someone over there's a good chance that the person wont be able to tell that they are not being pulled over by real law enforcement personnel.

JC57 said...

At the time Candace Harms disappeared I was a UNL student myself as well as the mother of a baby. My husband was gone a lot for work and I was really nervous. I would often lie in bed at night wondering what could have happened to Candi. Imagine my horror when I learned that that man that lived in a house directly behind my next door neighbor had been arrested for her murder. All that time I could have looked out my bedroom window right at the home of her killer. I don't think my sense of security has ever been the same. Crimes can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. It makes me crazy when people say things like "We never lock our doors," or things like that don't happen around here." I believe Bjorklund and Barney would have been serial killers had they not been caught.

Anonymous said...

10:32 Why don't you write down the plates and the description of the driver and call the police with that information?

Anonymous said...

I remember Candice Harm's murder very well......Makes me sick to this day what those two SOBs did to that poor girl and how it devistated her family.

I was with a girlfriend at the time and she was scared to death being in Lincoln at night.

We both remember Candy's parents soon after she was found coming into a restaurant and the look on her Mom's face was heartbreaking.