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Charges filed in 25-year-old homicide case in eastern Oklahoma

Charges have been filed in a 25-year-old eastern Oklahoma homicide of Haskell County Commissioner Leo Boyd Reasnor. Clifford Eagle, who turned himself in to police last week in Billings, Mont., was charged with first-degree murder.
BY ANDREW KNITTLE Modified: April 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm •  Published: April 23, 2012

STIGLER — A Haskell County cold case is heating back up after a man walked into a police station in Billings, Mont., and confessed his role in the June 1987 slaying of a well-known county commissioner in rural southeast Oklahoma.

Leo Boyd Reasnor, who was 49, was found dead inside his pickup on June 25, 1987, by his son and son-in-law. He had a single gunshot wound to the temple and was found slumped over in his truck on some land he owned about four miles southwest of Lequire.

The slaying confounded local authorities for decades before Clifford Eagle, a former resident of the area, walked into the Montana police station last week and told investigators he wanted to get “something off his chest,” court records show.

Eagle, now 53, 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.

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.

Prosecutors are seeking to extradite Eagle from Montana on a murder complaint.

Haskell County District Attorney Farley Ward said Monday “it's too early” to make a decision about whether to seek the death penalty in the case.

Johnson was executed by the state of Oklahoma in 2001 for the murder of Shirley Mooneyham, 44, of Pittsburg County.

Prosecutors say Ted Holt and John Crain hired Johnson to kill Mooneyham because she had incriminating evidence against the two men.

Holt, who was Mooneyham's estranged common-law husband, was acquitted on charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Prosecutors dropped the same charges against Crain.

Johnson also was convicted of killing his roommate in 1979, drawing a 15-year sentence on a manslaughter charge.

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 institute seven years before that.

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