Despite confessing his involvement in the 1987 slaying of an elected official in Haskell County, Clifford Eagle did not sign documents that would have made his extradition from Montana a quick and easy process.
Danita Williams, an assistant district attorney in Haskell County, said she wasn't sure why Eagle decided not to waive extradition proceedings after confessing to the slaying of Leo Boyd Reasnor, who was 49, nearly a quarter century ago.
Reasnor was a well-known county commissioner at the time of his death. Eagle, who implicated a second man in Reasnor's shooting death, was a resident of Haskell County in 1987.
“I was a little surprised by that ... that he didn't waive extradition,” Williams said. “But he may not have realized what all it meant, his confession. He may not have realized exactly what he was getting into at that point.”
Williams said her office has officially requested the assistance of Gov. Mary Fallin's office to extradite Eagle.
Fallin spokesman Aaron Cooper said the governor's office received an application from Haskell County for a so-called governor's warrant Thursday. He said the application is pending, and “an extradition requisition has not been issued at this time.”
Haskell County District Attorney Farley Ward said last week at a news conference in Stigler that it's too soon to know whether Eagle will face the death penalty if convicted.
Eagle was charged last week with murder, according to court documents. He is being held as a fugitive from justice at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility in Billings, Mont., according to the jail's website.
What he told police
Eagle, 53, walked into a police station in Billings roughly two weeks ago and told detectives that he wanted to get “something off his chest,” court records show.
A longtime resident of the area around Stigler, Eagle told investigators that he and another man, Vince Allen Johnson, were on a county road in Haskell County when they encountered Reasnor. He said Reasnor accused Johnson of “stealing some of his property” a few moments before the county commissioner was shot dead.
Reasnor was found dead inside his pickup by his son and son-in-law. He had a gunshot wound to the temple and was found slumped over in his truck on land he owned about four miles southwest of Lequire.
Eagle said he fired his handgun, a Ruger .357 loaded with .38-caliber bullets, at Reasnor after Johnson indicated the victim was “going for a gun.” He said he thought Johnson “may have fired” his weapon — a Smith and Wesson .38 — as well, court records show.
The bullet pulled from Reasnor's head nearly 25 years ago was a .38-caliber slug, according to a state medical examiner's report at the time.
Johnson was executed by the state of Oklahoma in 2001 for the murder of Shirley Mooneyham, 44, of Pittsburg County.
Eagle, who was listed on the sex offender registry in Montana at the time of his arrest, pleaded guilty to a Pittsburg County rape in 2003. He also pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in 1998 and was convicted of escaping from an Oklahoma penal institution seven years before that.
At one time, a multicounty grand jury had indicted Billy Ray Wilson, a political enemy of the Reasnor at the time of the slaying. A judge dismissed the murder charge against Wilson in 1998 at the request of the prosecutor.
Wilson could not be reached by phone to comment on this story.